describe nouns, i.e. make it clear what a noun refers to. For example:
I bought a jacket and a shirt.
My house is near the center.
There’s a lot of flowers in the garden.
She’s got two sisters and a younger brother.
You can’t use singular countable nouns alone, i.e. without a/the/my, etc.
We can’t get into the house without a key. (not key)
I want a banana. (not banana)
Paris is an interesting city.
We use ‘a’ and ‘an’ with singular countable nouns when we do not need to make clear
which person or thing we are talking about:
an accident, a banana, a couch, a dream, a neighbourhood.
Learn more about using a/an with nouns
When people can understand which person or thing we mean, we use ‘the‘ with singular
and plural countable nouns:
The pie won the prize but the judges didn’t like the cookies.
Learn more about using the with nouns
We use no article (the so-called ‘
‘) with plural countable nouns and with
uncountable nouns when we are talking in general:
Dogs usually don’t like cats.
Good health is more important than money.
Unlike singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns can be used alone: