Osvaniur Osvaniur

The definite article
Upper intermediate level


This is a grammar lesson with some controlled speaking practice where ss review a few important general rules for the correct use of the definite article.


Abc HO-3 (worksheets a & b)

Main Aims

  • Grammar. To review uses of the definite article (when to use the definite article "the" and when to omit it), to extend ss' knowledge of the definite article and to give ss some practice using it.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide speaking practice for accuracy through a general knowledge quiz. To provide an opportunity for ss to read for specific information.


Lead-in (4-5 minutes) • Set the context and get ss interested in the topic

Write on WB: What's the most frequently used word in the English language? Let different ss guess for a while and write their answers on the board. Elicit from the ss the importance of the definite article.

Test stage. Short reading (6-7 minutes) • To introduce TL to the ss and to find out what they already know.

Ask ss to read a short text (HO 1) and elicit from them the reasons why the definite article (the) is used or omitted in each case. Listen to the ss, teach them what they don't know yet. Whole-class FB. At the end encourage them to read a lot in order to develop a feel for whether or not to use the definite article, indefinite article or none at all.

Teach stage (10-11 minutes) • To highlight and clarify the TL further

Put the ss in pairs. Distribute HO 2. SS have to match examples to categories. Provide the answer key on the WB. HO 2 Match each example to a category. EXAMPLES: 1. I live in Africa, in Kenya. 2. I play the piano. 3. What did people do before the fridge was invented? 4. The rich should pay more tax. 5. The sky was a beautiful clear blue. 6. I did it for love. 7. I was born on the tenth of June. 8. It’s an island in the Pacific. 9. I love spring, 10. What are we having for dinner? CATEGORIES: a. Meals b. Seasons c. Musical instruments d. Dates and decades e. Seas and rivers, deserts and groups of mountains f. Streets, towns, most countries and continents g. Singular nouns which stand for a general type h. Something which is unique i. Adjectives used as plural nouns j. Abstract nouns Tick the categories that usually take a definite article. For FB ss come to the WB.

Definite Article Quiz & Test Stage (10-12 minutes) • To provide controlled practice of TL

Write on the WB: Nile, Mississippi, Danube. Elicit from the ss whether they should use the definite article to complete the examples or not and why. Divide the class into two groups: A and B. Ask ss to complete the quiz adding the missing definite article if necessary and tell them they have to add their own question at the end. Distribute HO 3. Worksheet a to group A and worksheet b to group B. When ss have finished completing the quiz, put them into groups of four made up of two ss As and two ss Bs to give each other the quiz and check each other’s correct use of the TL. T walks around the classroom taking notes of the ss performance. When they have finished, ask the ss to turn over their worksheets and try to remember as much of the information in the quiz as they can. Do this as a mingle activity.

Follow-up activity (5-6 minutes) • To provide freer speaking practice

Form new groups or do this as a whole class activity. SS make up new questions and continue the general knowledge quiz.

Error correction (2-3 minutes) • To provide correction for common mistakes noticed during the speaking activities

Keep a record of common or repeated mistakes during the lesson and finally present them to the ss and elicit their correction.

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