Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The use of the definite and indefinite article

The indefinite article, 'a'/an', and the definite article 'the' are perhaps the most commonly used words in the English language. Read the passage below and try to formulate some rules for their use.

  One day, I saw a dog in the garden.  It was lying on the lawn.  I am a vet, and so I could tell that the dog wasn't well.  I had been treating dogs with illnesses for years, and had always told the owners of dogs to give them worm tablets three times a day.
  The Queen keeps corgis, and can sometimes be seen walking with at least one of the dogs in the parkland that surrounds the palace.  I also saw her in the Houses of Parliament the other day, and wondered whether she had one of the corgis with her.  I wanted to tell her that the biggest of them didn't look too well.  I have always wanted to tell her what beautiful dogs she has, and what a splendid pet the corgi makes, but unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity.
  At the time, she was planning a visit to the United States of America and Canada, where she wanted to visit The Rockies, and Mount Louise in particular, as the mountain was known to be one of the most beautiful peaks in the state of Alberta.
  I would have liked to suggest to her that all of the dogs in the palace should be given medicine at least twice a week, preferably in the morning before they are given anything to eat.  
  Rabies and other fatal diseases were the subject of a course I once took at The Royal Veterinarian College in the district of Hampstead in London.  I could have gone to one of the many other colleges around the United Kingdom, but preferred to live and work in the capital so that I could visit the Tate Gallery as often as possible.
  Art has always been my favourite subject, and the artist I admired the most is Van Gogh, the famous Dutch artist, who spent the last years of his life in the south of France, in the lovely town of Arles.
                                                         Robert L Fielding


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