|Specific(This one, that one)
One of many
One of many groups
|CountSingular||The appleThe bird
|An appleA bird
|CountPlural||The applesThe birds
|Some applesSome birds
|Non-count||The waterThe information||Some waterSome information||WaterInformation|
Specific articles are used with nouns which have been identified previously. (The speaker and the listener both know which thing/person/substance/idea is being referred to.)
(Both listener and speaker know which teacher and which stairs.)
Non-specific articles are used with nouns that have not been identified previously (by both the speaker and the listener.) They are used with items that have not been singled-out yet. (Note: As soon as the items are identified, they require a specific article.)
Non-count and plural nouns are used without articles in the generic sense.
*However, singular count nouns cannot stand alone in a sentence, so an article (usually a or an) is used.
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