The Use of Articles Exercise
Answer Key

Just to confirm (1) the rushed phone conversation we had today, I've been served with (2) a complaint from (3) the Small Claims Part of (4) 0 Civil Court brought by (5) a shopper against Loman's for (6) a breach of (7) 0 contract on (8) the theory that she came to our main branch last month in (9) 0 response to (10) an ad for (11) 0 leather coats and that we "failed to have (12) the merchandise to sell at (13) the advertised price." We had advertised these coats in one of our recent circulars. (14) The text of (15) the advertisement is part of (16) the FAX I sent previously to your office.


1. THE (definite article) (the rushed phone conversation we had today)

Is the noun common or proper?
Conversation is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, conversation is a singular noun. Plural: conversations.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, a phrase modifying the noun (we had today) provides more information that specifies the reference of the noun. Both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener know what conversation they are talking about


2. A (indefinite article) (a complaint)

Is the noun common or proper?
Complaint is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, complaint is a singular noun. Plural: complaints.

Is the noun definite?
No, it is the first time this is mentioned in the text. Only the writer/speaker knows this information.


3. THE (definite article) (the Small Claims Part)

Is the noun common or proper?
Part is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, part is a singular noun. Plural: parts.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, it is information shared by both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener and the noun is specified by a phrase modifying the noun Civil Court.


4. 0 (Small Claims Part of Civil Court)

It is a general reference to that level of court. It does not make reference to any specific civil court. In this sense, it is a noncountable noun that refers to something in a general sense, so it takes no article.


5. A (a shopper)

Is the noun common or proper?
Shopper is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, shopper is a singular noun. Plural: shoppers.

Is the noun definite?
No, there is no specification of who this shopper is. Only the writer/speaker knows about this shopper. It is new information for the reader/listener.


6. A (a breach of contract)

Is the noun common or proper?
Breach is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, breach is a singular noun. Plural: breaches.

Is the noun definite?
No, there is no specification of what breach the writer/speaker is referring to. It is new information for the reader/listener.


7. 0 (a breach of contract)

Is the noun common or proper?
Contract is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
No, contract here does not refer to any contract in particular but to the general concept. It is an uncountable noun.

Is the noun definite?
No, there is no sharing of information between the writer/speaker and the reader/listener. It is new information.


8. THE (the theory that she came to our main branch last month?)

Is the noun common or proper?
Theory is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, theory is a singular noun. Plural: theories.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, a phrase modifying the noun ("that she came to our main branch last month...") provides more information that specifies the reference of the noun. It is not any theory then, and both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener know the referent.


9. 0 (in response to an ad)

Is the noun common or proper?
Response is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
No, it is actually uncountable. It does not refer to a specific response.

Is the noun definite?
No.


10. AN (in response to an ad)

Is the noun common or proper?
Ad is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, ad is a countable singular noun.

Is the noun definite?
No, there is no sharing of information between the writer/speaker and the reader/listener. Only the writer/speaker knows what ad he is referring to. And it is the first time this item is mentioned.


11. 0 (an ad for leather coats)

Is the noun common or proper?
Coats is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Coats is a countable plural noun.

Is the noun definite?
No, there is no specification of what coats the writer/speaker is referring to and no sharing of information.


12. THE (we "failed to have the merchandise to sell at?)

Is the noun common or proper?
Merchandise is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
No, merchandise is an uncountable noun.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener know what merchandise they are referring to. The referent "leather coats" had already been mentioned in the text.


13. THE (to sell at the advertised price")

Is the noun common or proper?
Price is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
No, price is used as uncountable here.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, it is not any price; it is the advertised price. And both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener know what that price is.


14. THE (The text of the advertisement)

Is the noun common or proper?
Text is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, text can be counted and is a singular noun. Plural: texts.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, it is not any text; its reference is restricted by the following phrase of the advertisement.


15. THE (The text of the advertisement)

Is the noun common or proper?
Advertisement is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, advertisement can be counted and is a singular noun. Plural: advertisements.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, it is information shared by both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener, because the advertisement had already been mentioned in the letter.


16. THE (part of the FAX I sent previously to your office)

Is the noun common or proper?
FAX is a common noun.

Is the noun singular?
Yes, FAX can be counted and is a singular noun. Plural: FAXES.

Is the noun definite?
Yes, its reference is constrained by the phrase that follows the noun; it is not any FAX but the FAX (that) I sent previously to your office. This information is shared by both the writer/speaker and the reader/listener.