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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 13: Under the sea


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0:00

Hello. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation. I'm Margot Politis.

0:19

We're going to look at articles today - indefinite articles 'a' and 'an', and the definite article,

0:27

'the'.

0:29

But first, let's meet an oceanographer. She's talking about using underwater devices to

0:35

predict weather patterns.

0:37

See if you can hear her using articles while she talks about monsoons.

0:42

The monsoon gets a lot of its energy from the equatorial and sub-tropical Indian Oceans.

0:47

Dr Susan Wijffels, an oceanographer from Australia's CSIRO, is hoping that by measuring the state

0:53

of the Indian Ocean in those areas, scientists will be able to learn something about monsoon

0:57

predictability.

0:59

Predicting the monsoon is a very difficult thing and yet it impacts on millions and millions

1:04

of people, and so we think that, if we can predict the monsoon usefully, we can make

1:09

a real difference.

1:10

We know from El Nino that it's a fully global system, so you just can't study one small

1:16

part of the ocean and solve these problems. You really need a global integrated observing

1:20

system, and the Argo program is the first real big ocean attempt to do that, and it's

1:27

the float technology that's allowed us to even think about doing this.

1:30

Using articles before nouns is one of the most difficult things in learning English.

1:36

You can choose between indefinite articles 'a' and 'an', the definite article 'the',

1:43

or no article at all.

1:46

Let's start with the indefinite articles 'a' and 'an'.

1:51

The rule is that 'a' is used before words starting with a consonant, and 'an' is used

1:58

before words starting with a vowel.

2:01

So we have a banana, but an apple.

2:07

There are a couple of exceptions to the rule. Where the consonant 'h' is not pronounced,

2:12

we use 'an'.

2:14

So we say a happy man, but an honest man. The 'h' is not pronounced, so honest sounds

2:23

like it starts with a vowel.

2:26

Where the vowel 'u' is pronounced like a 'y' sound, we use 'a'.

2:30

So we say an umbrella, but a user, because user sounds like it begins with a 'y'.

2:40

'A' and 'an' are only used with singular nouns. We use 'some' with plural nouns.