Articles With Common Activities

Include the article “a” with the expressions “take a bath/shower” (American English) and “have a bath/shower” (British English).

Include the article “a” with the expressions “take a bath/shower” (American English) and “have a bath/shower” (British English).

I always take a shower before going to work.

We say “watch TV”, but “listen to the radio”.

I prefer to watch TV rather than listen to the radio.

No article is used when we say “listen to music” as a general statement; by contrast, “listening to the music” help us be more specific or identify the music we are listening to.

I enjoy listening to music on my headphones.

We also say:

  • Use the Internet (with the article the)
  • Go to bed (without the article) to mean “go to sleep”
  • Do homework (in a general sense) or do the/my/your/... homework (to be more specific)

1. Bath and Shower

In American English, we commonly say “take a bath” and “take a shower” (with the indefinite article “a”).

I need to take a bath.

Did you take a shower this morning?

British English speakers, instead, tend to favor the expressions “have a bath” and “have a shower”.

I love having a bath before going to bed.

You should have a shower, John.

Be aware that "shower" and "bath" are countable nouns, so we cannot use the article (a/the) when using the plural form in a general sense.

Do you prefer to take baths or showers?

2. TV, Radio, and Music

We always say “watch TV” (no article), but “listen to the radio” (with the article “the”).

My child enjoys being in his room where he can watch TV or listen to the radio.

When speaking about listening to music in general (without being specific), we leave out the article.

Rebecca likes listening to music while studying.

Since music is an uncountable noun, you cannot put the article “a” before it; however, you can say “a piece of music”.

I was listening to a new piece of music in my car.

Use the article “the” to be more specific—for example, to refer to the music that is playing right now:

Don’t talk; just listen to the music and relax.

3. Others (Internet, Homework, and Going to Bed)

We routinely put the article "the" before "Internet".

You can use the Internet to improve your English.

There is one exception to this convention. Drop the article when using “Internet” as short for "internet access".

We don’t have internet here. (meaning internet access).

The noun homework, being uncountable, cannot be used with the indefinite article “a”.

Doing homework helps children prepare for the real world.

But you can use a possessive pronoun (my, your, his, her, etc.) or another determiner (the, some, etc.) to be more specific.

Have you done your homework?

Go to bed” (without "the") means go to sleep.

I usually go to bed around 09:00.

Going to the bed”, by contrast, simply means going to where the bed is.

We went to the bed and sit on it to discuss family problems.

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