Thursday, December 1, 2016

Grammar -preposition and Articles.


A preposition is a linking word. It usually comes before a noun or pronoun. Prepositions say where someone or something is located.

Read this conversation.The prepositions have been underline.

Teacher : Meena, where is the picture I gave you?

Student : It is on the table, sir.

Teacher : It isn’t here. Did you put it in the cupboard?

Student : It isn’t there, Sir, Oh...... it is under your table sir.

There are other prepositions too, which you can use for showing the positions of something. They are at, near, beside, between, above, over, in front of, below, etc.


An ‘article’ is a kind of determiner.

‘a’ and ‘an’ are indefinite articles.

The article ‘a’ is always used before words beginning with a consonant sound.
Example: a house, a cat

The article ‘an’ is always used before words beginning with a vowel sound (and not the vowel letters - a, e, i, o, u)

Example: an elephant,   an M LA

How the definite article ‘the’ is used.

Look at the following sentences.

(i) Meg, the oldest longed for pretty things.
Amy, the youngest wanted to buy some coloured pencils.
It was the happiest Christmas ever.
the oldest’, ‘the youngest’, ‘the happiest’

The definite article ‘the’ is used before an adjective in the superlative degree.

e.g. The Amazon is the longest river in the world.

(ii) She played the piano.
Here ‘the’ is used before a musical instrument.
e.g. I like to play the guitar.

(iii) The shoes were worn out.

The audience was delighted with the play.

In the first sentence,’the shoes were worn out’, there is a reference to the shoes in the previous sentence - ‘Jo held out mother’s shoes over the fire’.

Similarly, in the second sentence, ‘the audience was delighted with the play’, there is an earlier reference to the play- ‘they had planned to put up a play for their friends’.

When a person or thing has already been mentioned, the definite article is used in later references to that particular person or thing.

e.g. I saw a boy near the bus stop. The boy was blind.

(iv) Mother came into the room.
Meg escorted her to the table.

In the first sentence, ‘the room’, refers to a particular room and ‘the table’, refers to a particular table where the gifts are placed.

When it is clear from the context that a particular person or thing is meant, the definite article is used.
e.g. I asked my son not to play in the street.

Now read the following passage:

Galileo was an astronomer. An astronomer is a person who studies the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars. In 1608, Lippershey invented the first telescope. Galileo heard about the invention and set to work on making a telescope for himself.

Galileo studied the stars with his telescope. His ideas about the sun and the earth were different from what the Bible had said.

(v) We say the sun, the moon, the planets, the stars, the sky and the earth. These are the only ones of their kind. Our reference to them is definite. Therefore the definite article ’the’ is used.

(vi) ‘The Bible’ - we say ‘The Bible’, ‘The Ramayana’, ‘The Koran’, etc. The definite article is used before the names of certain well-known books.

(vii) I usually go to work on the bus. But my brother goes to work on the train. We can also use ‘the’ with means of transport.

e.g. Kumar goes to work on the motor bike.
Note: I go by bus. I go on the bus. ‘The’ is used after ‘on’. 

(viii) I have to go to the dentist tomorrow. We use ‘the’ with the names of some occupations.
e.g. Vidhya went to the goldsmith to buy a ring.

(ix) He went to the Indian Institute of Technology. Shahjahan built the Taj Mahal.

We use ‘the’ before the names of institutions, monuments, etc.
e.g. We are trained at the Regional Institute of English.

(x) Mt. Everest is in the Himalayas.

We use ‘the’ before geographical features - mountain ranges, rivers, oceans, etc.
e.g. The plane flew across the Pacific Ocean.

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