❶ Intro Have you ever volunteered to help your neighborhood? Some people believe that it is very important to give back to their communities. It can make you feel good and also help change your community for the better. There are many different things that people can do that they enjoy for community service. It can be anything from helping to serve lunch at a homeless shelter to picking up trash in local parks. There will always be a need for people who are willing to give their time to help. Marni tells Gary about her recent community service. Find out more in today’s English lesson about volunteering one’s time. ❷ Dialogue Marni: Gary, you know what I did over the weekend? Gary: What did you do? Marni: I volunteered with a local organization that goes around and plants trees in neighborhoods and parks. Gary: That’s really, really interesting because this past weekend I went back to a place where I planted a tree. And it was a year later, so… Marni: You got to see the benefit. Gary: Yes. Marni: That’s great. Gary: It was so wonderful just taking part in this larger involvement. Marni: I really love community service and I feel like it’s your responsibility every once in a while to give back. Gary: And it’s so beneficial to not just you, but to everyone and the community. Marni: Absolutely. Gary: It’s so great to do. Personally speaking, I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to do some small thing. Marni: It’s whatever you’re interested in. It doesn’t have to be planting trees. It could be volunteering at a homeless shelter or an animal shelter. Or just even taking meals to seniors. But there are so many ways you can volunteer in your community. I think it’s your duty to look into it. Gary: I’m so happy that you did that this weekend. ❸ Discussion Marni just spent a weekend volunteering. She helped to plant trees in her neighborhood. She really enjoyed it and thinks that it’s important that everyone do some type of community service. There are many different ways that someone can volunteer and Marni gives some examples. Gary agrees that it’s important to give back. He tells Marni that he’s also helped plant trees and talks about returning to a place to see how much a tree has grown. He feels that it’s everyone’s responsibility to do something beneficial for their neighborhoods. Do you do community service? Why or why not? ❹ Grammar Point Definite & Indefinite Articles Marni says, “It could be volunteering at a homeless shelter or an animal shelter.” Marni uses the indefinite articles. Articles in English are very important, as we use them all the time. The three articles in English are a, an, and the. Here are some basic rules for understanding how to use these articles: The is the definite article. It is used before singular or plural nouns that are specific or particular. Here are some examples: “The girl who lives next door to me is really cute.” This refers to a particular girl: the girl who lives next door. “The president is a busy man.” There is only one president, so we are referring to a specific noun here. “I love the books you gave me.” Again, we’re talking about particular books, the ones you gave me. A/an are the indefinite articles. We use a/an before general, non-specific nouns or to indicate membership in a group. A/an can only be used with countable, singular nouns. Here are some examples of how to use a/an: “Let’s go see a movie tonight.” We aren’t talking about a specific movie, as we haven’t said which movie we want to see. “Cassie is an actor.” Cassie belongs to a group: actors. We use “an” instead of “a” because “actor” begins with a vowel. “I hope I get a car for my birthday.” This refers to any car. I don’t know which car yet because I haven’t gotten the car. The homeless shelter and animal shelter that Marni talks about are not specific. They could be anywhere. Finally, all articles in English are invariable, meaning that they do not change if the noun is singular or plural, masculine or feminine. There are no other forms of the, an, or a. Which is correct, “Did you eat the sandwich I made for you today?” or, “Did you eat a sandwich I made for you today?” ❺ Quiz ⒈ What did Marni do over the weekend? ❶ Marni went to the beach with her family. ❷ She planted a tree in her backyard. ❸ She helped plant trees in her community. ✓ ❹ Marni spent time with Gary. ⒉ How does Gary feel about community service? ❶ He thinks that it’s beneficial to everyone. ❷ Gary says that it is everyone’s responsibility. ❸ He thinks it’s boring. ❹ Both #1 and #2. ✓ ⒊ It feels good to __ to the place where you grew up. ❶ responsibility ❷ give back ✓ ❸ beneficial ❹ duty ⒋ Which is incorrect? ❶ Have you opened a gift I gave you? ✓ ❷ We should go on a lunch date soon. ❸ Pete is going to the gym later. ❹ Did you buy the book I told you about?