Articles are an important OET grammar component. These always come top of the list when it comes to those tricky bits of English grammar that take a while to click. The terminology can make the use of articles sound confusing, but it is actually quite simple! First thing to remember is that mistakes in ‘articles’ fall under Language in OET Writing Assessment Criteria.
Table of Contents
Read this article and have a go at the mini-tasks, and you’ll have solved your article worries in a matter of minutes…
Articles come before some nouns, so nouns are the best place to start.
A noun can be a person, a place or an object. There are many types of nouns and reading up on them will help you to get your head around articles.
1.1. Indefinite (a/an)
This type of article refers to an unspecified noun or you could say any of the noun type.
Mrs. Brooks has a history of diabetes.
Mr. Jackson was referred to an orthopedist.
The indefinite article ‘a’ is used before a word that begins with a consonant or consonant sound when pronounced.
Common medical words that begin with a
|a fibroid||a uterine fibroid|
|a high school student||a university student|
|a blood test||a urine test|
|a stool sample||a urine sample|
|a businessman||a English businessman|
|a history||a one-day history|
|a cough||a European|
|a dollar||a euro|
|a report||a unit|
|a feature||a unique feature|
The indefinite article ‘an’ is used before a word that begins with a vowel or a vowel sound when pronounced.
Common medical words that begin with a
|an episode||an hour|
|an eight-year-old boy||an honest opinion|
|an examination/investigation||an honorable person|
Deciding which indefinite article should be used with abbreviations is tricky. You need to understand if the abbreviation is pronounced as a single word, letter by letter or in expanded form.
Here is a list of common
|a URTI||an upper respiratory infection|
|a UTI||a urinary tract infection|
|an RBC count||a red blood cell count|
|an MRI scan||a magnetic resonance imaging scan|
|an RTA||a road traffic accident|
|an NPO order|
|an HIV positive patient|
|an NICU nurse/doctor||a neonatal ICU nurse/doctor|
|a US senator|
|an AIDS patient|
|a SARS vaccine|
|an STD test||a sexually transmitted disease|
|an Hb/Hct value||a hemoglobin/hematocrit value|
|an OTC medicine|
✘ Do not use indefinite articles with uncountable nouns in OET.
For example, information, tenderness, bleeding, etc.
1.1.2 Medical Conditions & Medication
✘ Do not use indefinite articles with medical conditions or medication names.
|Medical Condition||Medication Name|
1.1.3 Treatment Procedures
✘ Do not use indefinite articles with medical/treatment procedures as given below.
|angiography, echocardiography||occupational therapy|
However, if a countable noun follows the above, an indefinite article can be used.
|a dialysis bag||a physiotherapy session|
|a screening procedure||a scanning report|
1.2 Definite Article (the)
On examination, she had pain in the left lower abdomen.
Further investigation confirmed a bacterial infection in the heart.
She presented with a scar on the left cheek.
Mrs X reported noticing a lump in the left breast.
- This article is used to indicate something already mentioned.
Suspecting peptic ulcer, a CT scan was ordered. The scan revealed multiple gall stones.
Today, Mrs. Zara reported experiencing severe chest pain for a day. The pain was constant and lasted for 5 minutes.
- While describing the body parts, ‘the’ can be replaced with appropriate gender pronouns (his/her)
Mrs Martha reported noticing a lump in her left breast.
An X-ray confirmed a fracture in his right foot.
- However, if there is an adjective preceding the noun indicating the body part, appropriate indefinite article (a/an) is used.
She presented with features of an acute abdomen.
His X-ray revealed an enlarged heart.
2. Job Roles
In your OET writing and speaking test, you will often need to refer to the roles of medical professionals. Job roles will always take an article. You will need to decide whether the role/person you are referring to is general (a/an) or specific (the). Make up a few phrases with the examples below.
E.g. The doctor has referred her to a psychiatrist.
a/the support worker
3. Nouns describing patients
Nouns describing patients will also need to be preceded by an article. In this case, you would sometimes be using the definite article as you are referring to a specific patient. However, there will be some instances where you would use the indefinite article. Have a look at the examples below and put them into some sentences.
E.g. The father of the child is a factory worker.
a/the factory worker
an/ the alcoholic
4. Uncountable nouns
These are nouns you cannot write article ‘a’ with. Some of the uncountable nouns are”
Now try and put some sentences together using both lists.
And there you have it…articles are easy!
Fill in the following with the appropriate article