Lesson 88 – Antiques – The use of the articles

Cours d’anglais gratuit C1




IN YOUR LANGUAGE (Top right > Select language > Click on the flags).


  • An antique show
  • The original concept
  • A documentary about
  • The format of the show
  • It remained unchanged
  • To this day
  • Antiques evaluators
  • To appraise
  • Authenticity
  • An approximate valuation
  • In-depth
  • Artistic context
  • Appealing to people
  • Particular crafts
  • Certain arts
  • He has been imitated
  • Little or no idea
  • Heirlooms
  • House clearance items
  • Charity shop
  • Newly appraised
  • The most valuable item
  • To appear on the show
  • It was valued at
  • Fixtures of the building
  • They had been brought in
  • Worthless items
  • Very rarely make it
  • The only criteria
  • To reflect the history of
  • It is being hosted
  • To make it on to the show
  • Despite their value
  • Counterfeit
  • In order to help
  • Fake items
  • They appear regularly
  • Intermittently
  • Experts in
  • Artefacts
  • Collectable items
  • Unique features
  • To tend to show
  • Craftsmanship
  • Spin offs
  • To write in
  • To grant their request
  • Seemingly valuable
  • The request was granted
  • It was aired
  • To the astonishment of
  • Their concerns were quelled
  • It was a ruse




Lesson 88 – Antiques

It seems that you can’t turn on the television set these days without there being an antique show on. Whether it’s “Cash in the Attic” or “Pawnstars”, it seems that everyone has something that is worth some amount more than you initially expected. The birth of televised antique shows began with “Antiques Roadshow”, a British television show that aired in 1979. The original concept was a documentary about London Auction House in 1977 and was so successful that the series was borne and the format of the show has remained unchanged to this day. Antiques evaluators travel to various regions to appraise antiques brought in by local people. The hosts evaluate for authenticity, interest and an approximate valuation. Often, an in-depth historical, craft, or artistic context is given of the antique, appealing to people interested in the study of the past or some particular crafts, or certain arts. Such was the success of the show that they have travelled to many other countries and the idea has been imitated around the world.

The show has seen many people make an appearance with items they have had little or no idea about, heirlooms, house clearance items, charity shop finds. Some leave disappointed whilst others depart with newly appraised “cash cows”. The most valuable item to ever appear on the show an original 1990s maquette of the Angel of the North sculpture by Antony Gormley, which was valued at £1,000,000. Glassware expert Andy McConnell later valued a collection of chandeliers at seven million pounds, however these were fixtures of the building in which the show was being filmed rather than an item that had been brought in. The two most expensive objects to be sold as a result of being discovered on the show are the 1932 Leica II Luxus camera for $600,000 and The Christofle et Cie Japonisme Jardinere which sold for £668,450.

Those who bring in worthless items very rarely make it on to episodes though value is not the only criteria. Those items that come with an interesting story or perhaps reflect the history of the city or county the show is being hosted in will make it on to the show despite their value and the occasional counterfeit object has even been included in order to help educate and inform aspiring and existing antiques dealers, with experts explaining the difference between real and fake items. The collection of evaluators appear regularly or intermittently on the show include experts in Nautical Antiques, Japanese and Chinese Artefacts, Gems and Jewellery, Furniture, Clocks and Watches, Fine Art, Books and Manuscripts, Ceramics and Pottery.

Antiques tend to be collectable items that are admired for their age, beauty, rarity, condition, or unique features. The suggested definition of an antique is to objects that are at least 100 years old and tend to show some degree of craftsmanship. The show has produced several specials and spin-offs, including, 20th Century Roadshow, which focused on modern collectables. The show is going strong to this day and enjoys international versions in Australia, Canada, Germany and The United States, amongst others.

A once popular television show from the 1980s “Jim’ll Fix it” allowed the public to write in requests to the show’s host Jimmy Savile who would, in turn, attempt to grant their request. One girl wrote in asking if she could go on to Antiques Roadshow and “accidentally” break a seemingly valuable vase. The request was granted and the episode was aired much to the astonishment of the audience but their concerns were quelled when it was explained to them that it was a ruse.


Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1

Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2

Drag and Drop Quiz 3: 



There are only three articles in English: a- & an (indefinite articles) -the (definite article). Knowing when to use the article is what we will focus on today. The best way to learn how to use articles properly is to read examples out loud, to become familiar with what “sounds right”.

      • A/AN

These articles are used to refer to something/someone not mentioned before and/or not specifically known to the person you are communicating with:

I had a bowl of porridge this morning

I work in a petrol station

I am a dentist

Be careful with the spelling: A or AN:

I think he will opt for a university near home

We still have an hour to wait

      • THE

This article is used when you know that the listener knows or can figure out what particular

thing/person you are talking about or it has been mentioned before:

The book you recommended was terrible

Did you lock the front door?

They have a 4×4 and a scooter. The 4×4 is driven by him and the scooter by her

Is used when talking about geographical points on the globe, rivers, oceans and seas:

The North Pole

The Equator

The Nile

The Pacific

The English Channel

Is used when we know that there is only one of the thing mentioned:

The rain

The sun

The wind

The world

The earth

The White House

The Niagara Falls

Is used to say that the particular thing/person mentioned is the best and we emphasise “the” when pronouncing:

Ibiza is the place to go out!

Exceptions to using the definite article > No article

When talking about things in general:

4x4s are expensive (All 4×4 cars are expensive)

Elephants have a great memory (It is a known fact that all elephants have a great memory)

People are worried because of the crisis (Generally speaking, people are worried)

With sports:

I like to play rugby

Tennis is expensive

Before uncountable nouns when talking about them generally:

Caffeine is bad for you in big quantities

research is the key to a good thesis

Milk is often added to tea

Before the names of countries: (except when they indicate multiple areas or contain the words

“land(s)”, “state(s)”, “kingdom”, “republic”, “union” because they are nouns and therefore require

an article.




With names of languages:

French is spoken in Tahiti

English uses many latin words

With the names of meals:

Dinner is served in the evening

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

With people’s names (if singular) and possessive cases:

Alexander’s sister is famous.

(BUT> The Simpsons)

With titles and names:

Prince Charles

President Obama

(BUT> The Pope, The Queen)

With professions:

He will most probably go into medicine or engineering.

With names of shops:

I have to go to Boot’s

I bought it from Marks and Spencer’s

With years:

Do you remember 2000?

With the names of individual mountains, lakes and islands:

Have you ever been to Lake Kilimanjaro?

With MOST names of towns, streets, stations and airports:

Victoria Station

Bond Street


In some fixed expressions such as:

On foot At school At work
At university In church In bed
In prison At home On holiday
On air By train By car


  • Related Pronunciation Video Lesson and interactive exercise(s):


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