Articles ‘A’ ‘AN’ ‘THE’ -Indefinte Articles & Definite Article.
Let’s clear the concept of the use of ‘a,’ ‘an,’ ‘the’ articles in grammar. These are very small words, but without the proper use of it, sentences will have errors.
Hence, the correct use of articles is mandatory. In this lesson, we will learn the basics of articles, its rules with a lot of examples.
I hope, you will enjoy the whole session and clear all your doubts.
Let’s start ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ articles!
Articles mean simply a few words (a, an, the) which define whether the noun is specific or unspecific.
There are so many examples of articles, which we use every time in our daily life.
Few of them are illustrated for better understanding,
I have seen a tiger in the village. Here, we observe followings,
These ‘a’, ‘the’, are articles.
The article is classified into two categories:
|Singular||a / an||the|
The indefinite article takes two forms.
Indefinite means which is not definite, or we can say, not specific. It is simply used in general meanings. The indefinite article indicates that a noun refers to general things instead of specific things.
A dolphin! It’s not a specific thing, it means any dolphin.
Example of indefinite articles! We always use indefinite articles in our communications.
Let’s see, a few examples,
Rule #1 Use the article ‘a’ for a singular countable noun that starts with a consonant. This rule is very simple, and it is applicable for a singular countable noun. ‘a’ placed before nouns.
Explanation Cat, bat, mobile, etc. are singular countable nouns and all start with a consonant. Hence, the indefinite article ‘a’ is used.
Rule #2 Use article ‘an’ for a singular countable noun that starts with a vowel or vowel sound.
Explanation Apple, antelope, ox, etc. are singular countable nouns and these all are started with vowels. Hence, article ‘an’ is used before these nouns.
Rule #3 Use the article ‘a’ or ‘an’ to indicate any non-specified member of a group or category.
A bird means, the category of birds is not specified. In the same way, an animal means, it is not specified which category of animals is talking about. The same is applicable to birds or flats.
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Rule #4 Use the article ‘a’ or ‘an’ to indicate one in number with respect to other numbers (i.e., more than one). Example
Explanation Here, ‘a’ is used before parrot to indicate one number, and ‘an’ is used before the umbrella to indicate the same.
Rule #5 Adjective may come between article and noun. Rules will be followed considering the noun.
In the above example, the adjective strange, happy & red is used.
However, articles, ‘a’ is used considering the respective nouns.
Rule #6 When plural forms are to be used, that is more than one and numbers are not specified, or limited numbers, we will use ‘some’ instead of article ‘a’ and ‘an’.
When an orange to be written its plural form, article ‘an’ will be replaced by ‘some’. In the same way, it is applicable to glass, pen, apple, etc.
Rule #7 Jobs and professions If we talk about anyone’s job, use the article ‘a’.
The definite article is the word ‘’the’’. Definite means specific. It implies the meaning of a noun to one particular thing or a specific thing. The definite article can be used with,
We say the horse is beautiful. Here, a particular horse is implied instead of any horse.
So, definite article ‘the’ should be used prior to nouns.
Example of definite articles!
We are using definite articles in our communication every day.
Rimi asked Somi, “Have you attended the party of Jojo?”
The definite article ‘the’ refers to a specific party of Jojo, not a general party.
Below are some examples of the definite article used in context:
Rule #1 If the specific identity of the noun is known, Use the definite article ‘the’ before the noun. This noun can be a singular noun or plural noun or countable or uncountable.
If we observe all the above examples, we see that the identity of nouns is known, and article ‘the’ is used.
If a particular noun is already mentioned earlier, use article ‘the’ before the noun.
In the first article ‘a’ is used in front of the noun, bus. But when the noun bus is used again, article ‘the’ is used before it. The same is applicable for mango.
If an adjective or clause or phrase is used to describe the noun, article ‘the’ is used before it.
In this example, clauses are used to describe the noun, ‘student’. Hence, ‘the’ is used before a noun.
Rule #4 If the noun refers to someone or something unique, article, ‘the’ to be used.
This all refers to unique things, hence, article, ‘the’ is used.
Rule #5 In the case of plural countable nouns or uncountable nouns, no articles are used if all things are expressed in general.
Rule #6 There are a few geographical places, where article ‘the’ is used. United countries, deserts, large regions, oceans, canals, peninsulas, seas, mountain ranges, gulfs, groups of islands, rivers,
Rule #7 Article ‘the’ cannot be used for the followings,
Rule #8 Articles should not be used before any determiners. (any, some, my, this)
Rule #9 Article ‘the’ is placed before musical instruments, inventions, and cultural institutions Few examples are illustrated, as below
Rule #10 Use article ‘the’ with universally known things. Universally known things mean sun, moon, earth, stars, etc. For example,
The moon moves around the earth. It is really awesome to see the stars in the evening.
Rule #11 Article ‘the’ is used for everyday things For example, newspapers, internet, etc.
Rule #12 Article ‘the’ should not be used when we refer to an individual’s behavior or parts of an individual’s body. Example
Rule #13 If we talk about acronyms or abbreviations, definite article ‘the’ will be used only if all letters in acronym or abbreviation pronounced separately or individually, instead of a single word.
Rule #14 We don’t use ‘the’ before home, as we return back to home. But when the home is specified as a description phrase, we have to use the definite article ‘the’.
The omission of articles means when articles are omitted without any change of the sentence’s structure or meanings.
Now, we will see a few basic rules so remember the use of indefinite articles or definite articles.
There are few rules for the omission of indefinite articles,
Rule #1 Don’t use indefinite articles, ‘a’ or ‘an’, two times in one sentence in case of the same noun.
Remember, if we say, Rumi is a smart and a nice girl, then the meaning will be different.
It means Rumi is a smart girl, and another a nice girl. So, two girls.
Rule #2 Indefinite articles should not be used before any material nouns.
Remember, if we want to express the countable condition of a material noun, then we have to use an indefinite article. Like,
Rule #3 Before the meal, no indefinite articles should be used. Example,
Remember, if we use any adjective before meal, then indefinite article should be used.
Rule #4 Before uncountable nouns, we don’t use indefinite articles.
Here, we don’t say, ‘I want to have a sugar’. So, indefinite articles like a, an, we don’t use with uncountable nouns.
Rule #5 We should not use any indefinite articles, before type of, kind of, variety of, sort of etc.
Rule #6 We should not use any indefinite articles, before meals, except an adjective is used before the meal or the meal is for a special purpose.
Remember, we use indefinite articles for,
Certain rules for the omission of definite articles,
Rule #1 Don’t use definite article, ‘the’, before Specific names or Proper nouns, Newton, Einstein, etc.
Here, we should not write, ‘the Newton’ or ‘the Einstein’ as both are proper nouns.
Rule #2 Definite articles should not be when we talk about any specific subjects, Geography, History, etc.
Here, we have not written, ‘the English’ or ‘the Mathematics’ as both are subjects.
Rule #3 All kinds of languages will not be associated with definite articles.
Here, we have not used definite article before the language, ‘Bengali’.
So, the correct English is ‘Bengali’ instead of ‘the Bengali’.
Rule #4 When we talk about generic plural countable nouns, we don’t use definite article.
Here, we don’t say, ‘the Rabbits’. We simply omit the definite article.
Rule #5 No definite article, before uncountable nouns.
Explanation Here, we say, ‘cats’ instead of ‘the cats’.
Rule #6 Definite article is not used before the name of any city or town or village or state or country or continent.
Explanation Here, we don’t say, ‘the Kolkata’.
Rule #7 Definite article is not used before the name of any city or town or village or state or country or continent.
Explanation Here, we don’t say, ‘the Kolkata’. Remember there are few exceptions that we have already learned in the definite article rules.
Rule #8 When we talk about any kinds of sports or physical activities, we don’t use definite articles.
Explanation Here, we say, ‘playing basketball’ instead of ‘playing a basketball’.
Rule #9 If any noun comes with a numerical number, then definite article should not be used before that noun.
Here, we say, ‘by AIRBUS 737’ instead of ‘by the AIRBUS 737’.
Rule #10 When acronym or abbreviation pronounce as a single word, we don’t use definite article.
Here, we say, we pronounce all above abbreviations as single word.
Rule #12 No definite article shall be used before abstract nouns.
Here, we don’t say, ‘the honesty’. There are also few cases, where, definite articles are not generally placed,
Rule #13 Seasons like Monsoon, Rainy season, etc.
Rule #14 Any festivals or holidays like Eid, Durgapuja, Christmas etc.
Rule #15 Any sort of dieses
Rule #16 Newspaper, magazine, notices
Rule #17 By + mode of transportation
Rule #18 Name of days, like Sunday, Monday, etc.
Rule #19 Name of Months like January, February, etc.
Rule #20 Name of school, college, university in general purpose
Rule #21 Name of temple, mosque, church in general purpose
Rule #22 Name of hospital in general purpose
Rule #23 Possessives
Rule #24 Few prepositional phrases;
Rule #25 When few things are used in wide meaning like Man, Woman, Humanity, Mankind etc. are used in the wide sense
Rule #26 When man, women, etc. are used in wide meaning
Rule #27 When few things are used in general meaning Science, Birth, Death, Nature, Life
Rule #28 No articles are not used before type of, kind of, variety of, sort of, etc.
Rule #29 Before God
Rule #30 Definite article ‘the’ is not used before home if the home is specially said for the person to whom we are talking about.
Rule #31 Definite article is not used before Queen or King if Queen or King is followed their names.
For example, ‘the Queen Elizabeth’ is not correct, the correct is ‘Queen Elizabeth’.
Rule #32 When we talk about a unique post, we don’t use articles. Like principal or chairman etc.
We have seen sometimes articles are repeatedly used in many sentences. Do you have any idea that the repetition of articles also has some rules?
Let’s check it out with understanding, rules & examples!
I have a red and a blue pen. Here, article ‘a’ is used in front of red and blue pen both. It means –
Hence, I have two pens one is red and another is blue. Or we can take another example,
Hence, it can be said that Rimi has two jackets one is pink and another is white. In the same way, The doctor and the engineer are two pillars to serve the nation. Here, we have understood,
Hence, two different persons are specified by the article, ‘the’. So, these are examples of repetition of articles.
Rita has a red and green teddy bear. Here, article ‘a’ is used in front of red and green teddy bear.
Article ‘a’ is not placed individually before red or green.
It means – A red and green teddy bear, that is only one number of teddy bear which is red and green in colors.
If we say, a red and a green teddy bear, then it specifies two teddy bears instead of one.
In the same way,
But if we say,
Hence, in the case of the same people or places or things, one article to be used.
So, we have learned all about indefinite articles, definite articles, omission of articles ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ with a lot of examples. These all tricks, rules will help to learn English grammar as well as to avert any kinds of common errors in English.
Do you have questions? Please let us know.