It’s much too hot to think of heavy studying right now, so I thought I’d pick a lighter topic, those pesky English articles, with a fill-in-the-blank summer story paragraph, A Day at the Beach, for practice.
First, let’s review a couple of basic article rules. I’ll do a few rules here, and do several more in my next Weekly Feature.
1. The indefinite articles, “a” and “an” are used before singular nouns, not plural nouns. “A” is used before nouns starting with a consonant sound, for example, a swimming suit, a bottle of sunscreen. “An” is used before words starting with a vowel sound, like an egg.
2. The definite article “the” can go before either singular or plural nouns, for example, the diving board or the diving boards.
3. For words we don’t know the amount of such as silver or gold, intelligence or insight, we don’t use any article. For example, “Silver is used to make beautiful Navajo jewellery. Or, “Insight is a good quality to have.”
4. When we do know the amount, we use “the”, the definite article. For example, “The silver used in that sword makes it very heavy.”
5. The last rule for now is this. Articles aren’t used before countries, cities, towns, and people’s names. For example, “The Jennifer is sitting by that pond in the New Westminster in the Canada.” To make this sentence right we’d have to -? Right! Take out the articles.
For the following story, fill in the blanks with a, an, the, or leave it blank if an article isn’t needed. More than one article may fit. Do it with a friend and compare your answers.
A Day at the Beach
On July 27, my family and I went to ________ Rosamaria Beach. We were on vacation in ______ Baja, _____ California. _____tide was out, and we were able to walk far out to ______ water. _____ light seemed to bounce off each of _____waves. _____ colours of that day were _____gold and _____silver, _____ blue and _____tan. Susie, my youngest, was out of _____ car almost before it had stopped. She grabbed _____ pail and _____shovel and started looking for _____starfish right away. She wanted to take home _____ starfish for _____ pet. Would she find _____crabs, too? My husband and I shook out our bright yellow beach blanket and spread _____ blanket flat on _____ soft sand squidging between our toes. All around us, other families were getting _____toys and _____food out of _____ car, eager to have fun. My sons, Jock and Ben, raced towards ______ nearest tidal pool, hoping to find _____ fish they could keep for _____ pet. _____ little boy ran past us, proudly carrying his three fish to show his mom. _____ wonderful day was just beginning, and I took _____potato salad, _____grapes, _____sandwiches, and _____ fruit juice out of _____ picnic basket with _____ happiness for this time together at ______ beach in _____ Baja.
(August 2, 2009)
(Includes all 2002 to date Weekly Features with descriptions)