The second article rule I’ve been teaching this week is the “unknown/known” rule. Basically, if it is the first time you are introducing a previously unknown noun, you should use the indefinite article (a/an) and if the noun is already known or has previously been introduced you should use the definite article (the). Obviously this is not true in all cases, but it’s a good basic rule for students to keep in mind. As this is a really overwhelming looking definition, I’ve been breaking it down into a dialogue and having students fill in the blanks.
Look! __ dog.
__ dog is so cute.
__ dog has __ cat friend.
__ cat is sitting on __ tree.
When I wrote “Look! __ dog” on the board, class 2.9 automatically shouted out “HOT DOG.”
“No guys. Which article should I use?”
“A HOT DOG.”
“… Okay, fine. Here’s the new dialogue:
Look! __ hot dog.
__ hot dog looks so delicious.
__ hot dog is next to __ bottle of ketchup.
__ bottle of ketchup is red.
Is this better?”
“SO MUCH BETTER, TEACHER.”