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Language Leader Units 1-6.doc
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  1. Choose the right word.

  1. I had little/a little time to spare, so I browsed round a bookshop.

  2. Help yourself to a biscuit. There are few/a few left in the tin.

  3. My days are so busy that I have little/a little time for relaxation.

  4. She is exceptionally generous. Few/a few people give more money to charity than she does.

  5. There is little/a little butter left, but not much.

  6. He keeps trying though he has little/a little chance of success.

  7. ‘I’m afraid, you need few/ a few fillings’, said the dentist.

  8. He must have made a hundred clocks in his life, but few/a few of them ever worked properly.

  9. She wasn’t hungry. She just had few/a few spoonfuls of soup.

10.I can’t play tennis today. I have few/a few jobs to do around the house.

11.Help yourself to a whisky. There is still little/a little left.

12.Nowadays few/a few people have servants in their house.

13.I had little/a little time to catch the train, but I just made it.

14.I have few/a few friends that I can trust, but not many.

15.Don’t bother, little/a little depends on the outcome of the inquiry.

16.There are few/a few scholarships for students in this university.

17.If you don’t hurry, we’ll miss the train. There is little/a little time to spare.

18.It’s a difficult text. I’ve had to look up quite few/a few words in the dictionary.

19.I can’t spare any of these catalogues. There are only few/a few left.

20.I can’t let you use much of this perfume. There’s only little/a little in the bottle.

21.There are few/a few people who know about this, so keep it to yourself.

22.If what you say is true, there is little/a little we can do about it. We’d better give it up.

23.His ideas are difficult and few/a few people understand them.

24.His ideas are difficult but few/a few people understand them.

25.The average MP has little/a little real power.

26.We go to parties every weekend. We’ve got quite few/a few friends here.

27.She earns little/a little more than you because she does extra jobs at the office.

(from: Н.Н. Дианина. Дополнительные материалы к учебнику «New Headway Upper-intermediate». М., МГИМО, 2003.)



Basic uses of articles –see G2 p.138

Definite Article

• Classes

This is one way to refer to classes, and is perhaps more formal than using a plural:

The tiger is threatened with extinction.

Note: Nouns man, woman, child used in a generic sense (as a class) take no article!

We can’t be sure about the history of the human race, but man developed earlier than we think.

• National groups

Groups as a whole:

The French eat in restaurants more than the English.

Single examples are not formed in the same way:

A Frenchman/woman, an Englishman/woman.

• Other groups

If these are clearly plural:

the Social Democrats, The Rolling Stones

Note the difference:

Pink Floyd, Queen (no article)

• Unique objects

the moon, the sun

Note that there are other suns and moons in the universe.

This planet has a small moon.

• Titles

These tend to be 'unique'.

The director of studies

If the title is post-modified (has a description coming after the noun), the is more likely, but not essential. Compare:

She became President in 1998.

She became (the) President of the United States in 1998.

• Newspapers

The may be part of the title, and so is capitalised.

The Independent, The Sunday Times

Note that titles of magazines normally take no article: Punch, Time

However, there are many exceptions: The Economist, The New Yorker, so they must be learned.

• Musical instruments

Jane plays the flute.

The guitar is my favourite instrument.

It is, of course, still possible to use a where it would naturally be used.

There was a small brown flute in the window of the shop.

• Emphatic use

This is heavily stressed and emphasises the following noun.

This hotel is the place to stay.

• Geographical names

The following use the:

Rivers: the Thames

Mountain ranges: the Alps

Oceans: the Mediterranean

Unique features: the Channel, the Arctic

Compass points/areas: the East, the Middle East

Countries: collective or plural: The United Kingdom, The Netherlands

This does not apply to:

Mountain peaks: Everest (but The Matterhorn)

Continents: Asia

Countries: France

The definite article is sometimes used before Lebanon and Gambia:

The Lebanon The Gambia

• Place names

Post-modification, especially with ...of... plays a role in place names.


Leeds University/The University of Leeds

London Bridge/The Tower of London

If the first part of a place-name is another name, then normal rules about zero article apply.

Brown's Restaurant

The Garden House Hotel

The same applies in geographical names:

Canvey Island

The Isle of Man

Most and the most

Most hotels in England are very expensive, (making a generalisation)

This is the most expensive hotel in town, (talking about a specific hotel)

• Importance of context

The definite article refers to already mentioned items, and so its use depends on context.

The Smiths had a son and a daughter. The son was in the Army and the daughter was training to be a doctor.

On the Saturday, there was a terrible storm.

Here, the Saturday refers to a day in an area of time already mentioned.

On the Saturday of that week ...

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