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OASIS Writing Skills

Video Transcripts:
Mastering the Mechanics: Articles

Transcripts for Writing Center videos

Mastering the Mechanics: Articles

Last updated 5/31/2016


Visual: Walden University Writing Center logo is visible at the bottom of the screen along with a notepad and pencil background. “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. Slide changes to background of dictionary page. A green text box appears which reads: "Mastering the Mechanics: Articles."

Audio: Guitar music plays.


Visual: Slide changes to a blue, brown, and grey slide titled "Articles." Body of slide reads: "The, a, and an"

Bullet points below read:

  • Give specificity and number
  • Indefinite articles (a, an) refer to nonspecific or general thing
  • Definite article (the) refers to a specific thing

Examples below the final bullet point are as follows:

  • I am studying for a test.
  • I am studying for the test.
  • A counseling session provides a supportive environment.
  • The counseling session provided a supportive environment.

Audio: This is sort of a tricky one, but it's important for smooth and clear writing. Basically, articles are the words, "the", "a", and "an" and in the sentence they function to give specificity and number. And they also help to establish whether you're talking about a specific or general thing. Now, I know that's probably sounds pretty vague so let's talk about this in the context of these sentences here. "I am studying for a test."


Visual: The word a is highlighted in the first example sentence.

Audio: The word "a" is an indefinite article. I’m not talking about something specific. You don't know what test I’m studying for, I’m just studying for any old test. But if I say I’m studying for "the" test, there's a specific test, you know what test I’m studying for, I know which test I’m studying for, it's a very specific thing


Visual: As narrator says “the test” the is highlighted in second example sentence.

Audio: Similarly, I can say "a counseling session provides a supportive environment."


Visual: A is highlighted in third example sentence.

Audio: And when I say something like that, it's clear I’m talking about counseling sessions in general, right? I’m making a general observation about counseling sessions. If I say "the counseling session" I’m talking about a specific session involving specific people.


Visual: The in fourth example sentence is highlighted.

Audio: One specific counseling session provided a supportive environment. Now, what's tricky about articles is that the rules for using articles, when do you use -- you know, which words do you have to use "the" in front of and which words do you not have to use "the" in front of, and so on and so forth--all the nitty gritty rules about articles, there really aren't hard and fast, easy to learn rules, so if English is not your first language, articles can be pretty tough because they don't function the same in English as they do in other languages. In fact some languages don't even use articles. But I bring them up here because they really do add meaning to the sentence.


Visual: Slide changes to notebook and pencil with Walden logo from first slide. Text reads: “Walden University Writing Center. Questions? E-mail"