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Are You a Visitor? - Articles

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “Are You a Visitor Quiz” but no doubt your teachers will talk about “Articles”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

This quiz looks at articles which in English are the tiny words like 'a', 'an' and 'the'. We will examine which articles to use and, just as important, which ones not to use. Very often articles are used in a different way to which you are familiar with in your own language. In each question, only ONE version is right: which one is it?

  1. Choose the correct sentence.
    Remember, we use 'the' in front of a phrase that shows a position in order ('the first or second person'), but NOT usually in front of names of days or months.
  2. Choose the correct sentence.
    When we talk about substances in general (that is, without saying what kind or how much), we just say the name of the stuff without any other words in front. This is easier in English than in some other languages!
  3. Choose the correct sentence.
    No 'the' in front of the titles of important people, remember; after that, you will need at least one 'the' and at least one 'a'.
  4. Choose the correct sentence.
    We seldom put the indefinite articles ('a' or 'an') in front of the names of seasons.
  5. Choose the correct sentence.
    Clearly, this is quite a detailed situation (and quite serious, and quite memorable) ... so you will probably need lots of definite articles ('the'): 3 or 4 or them, in fact.
  6. Choose the correct sentence.
    English does NOT use 'the' in front of the titles of people (like 'Colonel Mustard'); but we use it in front of 'first', 'last' and other positions (like 'King Henry the Eighth' when we speak of him), and in front of famous place-names like the Lake District and the Cairngorm Mountains.
  7. Choose the correct sentence.
    This is not such a 'definite' situation, so you are more likely to need 'a' or 'an' here and there.
  8. Choose the correct sentence.
    We use 'the' to mean 'one particular thing', when we're not actually pointing at it.
  9. Choose the correct sentence.
    In English we don't need to put 'the' in front of names of parts of the body. ('Oh grandmother, what big teeth you have!' ... NOT 'the big teeth'!)
  10. Choose the correct sentence.
    English almost always puts 'a' or 'an' in front when saying what job someone does ('My old man's a dustman'), but we don't usually put 'a' or 'the' in front of the name of a country.

Author: Ian Miles

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