Articles confuse me very much. Please, can anyone tell me which articles should I put in these sentences and why:

__ horse in this photo is beautiful. Is that __ girl or __ boy on its back?

__ castle on that hill is very old. Is that __ bird or __ plane up there (above the castle in the sky)?

In these sentences, I think, "The" article should be in front of 'horse' and 'castle' but which articles should I put in front of the other two words in each sentence?

  • Unless you tell us what you want to describe (in other words), I'm afraid it is impossible to know which is correct here. Depending on how many horses and children there are and whether they are "known," any combination of definitive and indefinite articles might be appropriate. – choster Aug 9 '18 at 3:26

Yes, horse and castle will have "the" in front of them. This is because a specific horse/castle is being referred to, and they are not being referred to in a general sense.

The other blanks will be filled with "a". This is because the questions are asking about whether it is one general object (girl/boy/bird/plane), of many, rather than a specific object (a specific person, bird, or plane).

Examples where this would be reversed:

  • Is that the girl you are friends with or the boy I met on its back?
  • Is that the bird I saw or the plane you own up there?

When deciding which to use, ask yourself whether the object is a general term, like bird or plane, or whether you are referring to something specific, like something you own.

  • A horse in this photo is beautiful. Is that the girl or the boy on its back? is entirely correct in certain contexts, as would be A castle on that hill is very old. Is that the bird or the plane up there? The OP has not provided enough information to say definitively which exactly is intended. – choster Aug 9 '18 at 3:24
  • These sentences are from a pupil's book for children. I've just copied and pasted them here. – Nana G. Aug 9 '18 at 8:00

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