Articles : A, An and The

Articles : A, An and The

An article is a word that signals the coming of a noun. “A“, “An” and “The” are articles.

A” and “An” are indefinite articles. They leave indefinite the person, place or object mentioned. They are used with singular countable nouns.

Examples :

– I have a book.
– My sister just bought an umbrella.

The” is a definite article. It particularizes a noun. It is used with both singular and plural noun as well as uncountable nouns.

Examples :

– I have the watch Jane gave me.
– Look at the flowers!

Articles are actually adjective. They modify the noun they are placed before.

A” and “An” are the abbreviated form of one.

The” is the abbreviation of this, that, these or those.

Examples :

A bird flew in the sky. = One bird flew in the sky.
– Look at the shoes. = Look at those shoes.
– I have the pen. = I have that pen.

A” is used when the word following it begins with a consonant.

An” is used when the word following it begins with the sound of a vowel.  but it is also used before a mute “h”.

Examples :

a car, a bottle, a mouse, a dog.
an apple, an ostrich, an orange, an honest girl.

A” and “An” can be used in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at its usages :

– To show one or any person or thing.
– To show a kind, class or species.
– With an expression of quantity.
– To show certain expressions using number.
– To show the rate in certain expressions.
– Before a verb that is used as a noun.
– Before half when half follows a number.
– In exclamation before nouns.
– To point out an unfamiliar person.
– To show a profession, rank, community, …

Examples :

a flower.
a cat, a tree.
a dozen grapes, a lot of time.
a hundred rupees.
a run, I was in a rush.
– one and a half.
– What a mess!
A priya Sen called, I think he is a Shakespeare.
a student, a Christian, an engineer, an American.

The article “The” is used to refer to a specific noun or to a noun that has been mentioned before. Let us look at the usage of “The” :

– When the singular noun represent a class.
– Before an adjective that symbolizes a class.
– Before an adjective when it shows a quality.
– Before a noun to show a unit of measure.
– Before geographical proper nouns.
– Before cardinal directions and unique common nouns.
– Before certain common nouns.
– Before ordinals used as adjectives.
– Before newspapers and the names of certain holy books.
– Before musical instruments.
– To indicate a person’s title, rank or profession.
– To show that a noun is the best of its kind.
– Before adjectives in the comparative degree.

Examples :

The dog is a friendly animal.
the poor, the bad.
the good within him.
the noblest, the strongest.
– They are bought by the dozen.
the Andes, the Atlantic.
the west, the moon, the stars.
the theater, the station.
the last man standing.
the Guardian, the Bible.
– He plays the piano.
– He is the doctor here.
– This is the best book.
The more motivated he is, the harder he will try.

Articles are not always used before nouns. Sometimes they are omitted. Articles are omitted before :

– Most proper nouns.
– Proper or abstract nouns used in a general sense.
– Uncountable nouns.
– Plural nouns.
– Seasons, days, months.
– Names of countries, continents, cities.
– Names of languages and subjects.
– Names of relations.
– Nouns denoting a unique position.
– Words like “home”, “school”, “church” when these words are used for the purpose of these institutions.
– phrases consisting of a transitive verb followed by an object.
– phrases consisting of a preposition followed by an object.

Examples :

– Ms. Smith, Dr. Brown.
– Honesty is a rarity.
– Give me some water.
– Fruits are healthy.
– She left on Tuesday, I hate winter.
– I visited Morocco. I love London.
– Randa studies Spanish.
– This is Father.
– He was elected President.
– They saw him at church, I went home.
– to set sail, to lose heart.
– at sight, on demand, at night.


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