Using Articles for Articles

So here is another activity that can be used more as revision, or even to test knowledge of a grammar point, to see if it needs teaching.

It is something I tried out a couple of weeks ago and my class responded really well to it.  Since then, there has been a noticeable improvement in their work with articles. They don’t always get them right, but they are much better at self correction.  In my view, that is a big step in the right direction, plus it encourages learner autonomy, which is always a good thing.

I set this as homework, but you could ask students to do it in pairs too and I have added a couple of follow on activities that you could do to make it a whole lesson rather than just a practise activity.


1. Give the students a set of rules for when to use articles (this one is adapted from one in the back of Gold Advanced).

The definite article (1)

1.1 when there is only one of something

1.2 to talk about previously mentioned things

1.3 to talk about a generic class of things

1.4 with national groups

1.5 with adjectives used as nouns

The indefinite article (2)

2.1 with singular countable nouns referring to something general / non-specific

2.2 to replace one with numbers e.g. a hundred

Zero article (3)

3.1 uncountable, plural and abstract nouns in general

3.2 countries, continents, cities

3.3 mountains and lakes


2. Ask students to find a short article from a newspaper, or online, paper is better though for this.

3. Tell them that they have to underline all of the examples of articles in the text and then match them to one of the numbers above.

4. Ask them to show a classmate and they can compare, while you monitor to assist as needed.

5. Group feedback and check in case of any difficulties.

Extension activities

a) To encourage critical thinking skills you could ask students to summarise the text within a set word limit, e.g. 50 words.  The could plan it by selecting the key points and focus on writing those.

They could also tell a partner about the article or peer teach any interesting vocab they have found.

b) Ask students to look back through their own work and to try to correct mistakes.


So there it is, try it out and let us know what you think.





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