Articles in English: Articles in English is the used only before nouns to limit or define their noun's uses in the context of the sentence. An article is a short monosyllabic word that is used to define a noun. As they are used to identify nouns, they are also used as adjectives. They are of three types: “A, An, The”. Scroll down below to know more about the Articles. 

Definition of Articles

Articles are very important words in English and so is their knowledge. Articles are used before only nouns to limit or define their(nouns) uses in the context of the sentences. They impart effectiveness and accuracy to the nouns. In fact, articles are used as demonstrative adjectives and determiners before nouns.

Types of Articles

In English Grammar, Articles are of two types:

  1. Indefinite Article (A, An)
  2. Definite Article (The)

Indefinite Article

Indefinite articles are articles as the name suggests denote something which not definite or specific. “A or An” is the Indefinite Articles, they are called indefinite articles because it usually leaves indefinite the person or thing is spoken of, such as A doctor (which means any doctor). 

The indefinite article is used before singular countable nouns, for eg, A book, An orange, and A girl.

Definite Article

Definite articles are articles that denote something which is definite or specific. “The” is the definite articles, they are called definite articles because it normally points out some particular person or thing, For e.g., He saw the doctor (that means he saw some particular doctor.)

The definite article is used before singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns, and uncountable nouns, e.g., The book, the books, the milk.

Indefinite ArticleDefinite Article
Indefinite articles are articles as the name suggests 
denote something which not definite or specific.
Definite articles are the articles that denote something 
which is definite or specific.
“A or An” is the Indefinite article.“The” is the definite article.
The indefinite article is used before singular countable nouns.The definite article is used before singular countable nouns, 
plural countable nouns, and uncountable nouns.

Uses of ‘A’ and ‘An’ 

The Indefinite Articles ‘A’ and ‘And’ are used -

  1. ‘A’ is used before a word beginning with a consonant and with a vowel giving the sound of a consonant whereas the indefinite article ‘An’ is used before a word beginning with a vowel and with a mute ‘h’.
  2. When we talk of a thing or a person that is indefinite or that is mentioned for the first time we use indefinite articles
  3. Used to express class(in the sense of ‘any’).
  4. Help to make a common noun a proper noun to express quality.
  5. Used in the certain expression of quantity with certain numbers and expressions of ‘Price/Rate, speed, ratio’.
  6. Used for exclamation with ‘What’ or ‘How’ before singular countable nouns.
  7. Used before a person not known to the speaker.
  8. Usually used in the following adverbs: ‘Rather, very, much, quite, so, too, such, as’.
  9. Used before the verbs used as nouns.
  10. Used before adjectives ‘little’ and ‘few’ to give a sense of ‘some’.

Examples of ‘A’ and ‘An’

Examples of Indefinite Articles are:

1. Indefinite Article ‘A’ is used before a word beginning with a consonant and with a vowel giving the sound of a consonant whereas the indefinite article ‘An’ is used before a word beginning with a vowel, with a mute ‘h’, with a consonant pronounced with the sound of a vowel.

You must note that ‘A’ and ‘An, is primarily determined by the sound.

 ‘A’ is used before a word beginning ‘An’ is used before a word beginning
  • With a consonant, For Example- A boy, A child, A student, A book etc.
  • With a vowel giving the sound of a consonant, For Example- a one-eyed man, a university student,
  • With a vowel, For Example- an elephant, an apple, an ass, an umbrella, etc.
  • With a mute ‘h’, For Example- an hour, an heir, an honorable person, an honest man, etc.
  • With a consonant pronounced with the sound of a vowel, For Example- An LL.B. student, An M.P., An M.L.A., An S.P., etc.

2. Indefinite articles are used when we talk of a thing or a person that is indefinite or that is mentioned for the first time.

For Example-

  • Twelve inches make a foot.
  • Not a word was said.
  • A bird in the hands is worth two in the bush.

3. Indefinite articles are also used to express class(in the sense of ‘any’).

For Example-

  • A cow is a useful animal.
  • A beggar cannot be a chooser.
  • A rose is a beautiful flower.

4. Indefinite articles are also used to make a common noun a proper noun to express quality.

For Example-

  • A Shylock is living in my neighborhood. (a cruel miser)
  • He is a Vikramaditya known for his fairness. (a just man)
  • A Daniel comes to judgment (a very wise man)

5. Indefinite articles are also used in the certain expression of quantity with certain numbers and expressions of ‘Price/Rate, speed, ratio’.

For Example-

  • Rupees ten a kilo.
  • A dozen of mangoes.
  • Half a dozen.

6. Indefinite articles are also used for exclamation with ‘What’ or ‘How’ before singular countable nouns.

For Example-

  • What a hot day!
  • What a pretty girl!
  • What a naughty child!
  • How fine a day!

7. Indefinite articles are also used before a person is not known to the speaker.

For Example-

  • A Mr. Gupta = Some Mr. Gupta
  • A Mrs. Sharma = Some Mrs. Sharma

8. Indefinite articles are also used in the following adverbs: ‘Rather, very, much, quite, so, too, such, as’. 

For Example-

  • It is rather a nuisance.
  • It is rather a good step.
  • He is a very good person.
  • He is a much-hated character.
  • He is such a nice man that everybody like him.

9. Indefinite articles are also used before the verbs used as nouns.

For Example-

  • For a swim.
  • For a talk.
  • For a visit.
  • For a walk.
  • For a rest.

10. Indefinite articles are also used before adjectives ‘little’ and ‘few’ to give a sense of ‘some’.

A little- Some(Quantity) and A few- Some (Number)

For Example-

  • I have little money to buy a house.
  • There are few boys in the class.
  • I met a few students at the university.
  • Please give me a little sugar.

Uses of ‘The’

The Definite Article is used -

  1. When we talk about a particular person or thing, or one already referred to.
  2. When a singular noun is meant to represent a whole class.
  3. Before some proper names.
  4. Before the names of certain books.
  5. Before names of thing unique of their kinds.
  6. Before a proper noun when it is qualified by an adjective or a defining adjectival.
  7. With superlatives.
  8. With ordinals.
  9. Before musical instruments.
  10. Before an adjective when the noun is understood.

Examples of ‘The’

The examples of definite article are-

1. When we talk about a particular person or thing, or one already referred to.

For example-

  • The book you want is out of print.
  • Let's go to the park.
  • The girl cried.

2. When a singular noun is meant to represent a whole class.

For example-

  • The cow is a useful animal.
  • The horse is a Noble animal.
  • The cat loves comfort.
  • The rose is the sweetest of all flowers.

3. Before some proper names.

For example-

  • Oceans and seas e.g. The pacific, The black sea.
  • Rivers e.g. The ganga, The Nile
  • Canals, e.g. The Suez Canal.
  • Deserts, e.g. The Sahara
  • The group of Islands e.g. The West Indies
  • Mountain ranges e.g. The Himalayas, The Alps

4. Before the names of certain books.

For example-The Vedas, The Puranas, The Ramayana.

5. Before names of things unique of their kinds.

For example- The Sun, The Sky, The Ocean, The Sea, The earth.

6. Before a proper noun when it is qualified by an adjective or a defining adjectival.

For example- 

  • The great Caesar: the immortal Shakespeare.
  • The Mr. Roy whom you met last night is my uncle.

7. With superlatives.

For example- 

  • The darkest cloud has a silver lining.
  • This is the best book on elementary chemistry.

8. With ordinals.

For example- 

  • He was the first man to arrive.
  • The ninth chapter of the book is very interesting.

9. Before musical instruments.

For example- 

  • He can play the flute.

10. Before an adjective when the noun is understood.

For example-

  • The poor are always with us.
Articles in English Grammar- FAQs

Ans. Articles in English is the used only before nouns to limit or define their nouns uses in the context of the sentence. An article is a short monosyllabic word that is used to define the noun . As a they are use to identify the noun, they are also used as adjective. They are of three types: “A, An, The”.

Ans. In English Grammar, Articles are of two types: Indefinite Article Definite Article

Ans. ndefinite articles are the articles as the name suggests denote something which not definite or specific. “A or An” is the Indefinite Articles, they are called as indefinite articles because it usually leaves indefinite the person or thing is spoken of, such as A doctor (which means any doctor).

Ans. Definite articles are the articles as the which denote something which is definite or specific. “The” is the definite articles, they are called as definite articles because it normally points out some particular person or thing, For e.g., He saw the doctor (that means he saw some particular doctor.)

Ans. Some of the used of indefinite article is: Indefinite Article ‘A’ is used before a word beginning with a consonant and with a vowel giving the sound of a consonant whereas the indefinite article ‘An’ is used before a word beginning with a vowel and with a mute ‘h’. Indefinite articles is used when we talk of a thing or a person that is indefinite or that is mentioned for the first time. Indefinite articles is used to express class(in the sense of ‘any’). Indefinite articles is used to make a common noun a proper noun to express quality. Indefinite articles is used in certain expression of quantity with certain numbers and expressions of ‘Price/Rate, speed, ratio’. Indefinite articles is used for exclamation with ‘What’ or ‘How’ before singular countable nouns.

Ans. Some of the uses of definite article is: When we talk about a particular person or thing, or one already referred. When a singular noun is meant to represent a whole class. Before some proper names. Before the names of certain books. Before names of thing unique of their kinds. Before a proper noun when it is qualified by an adjective or a defining adjectival.

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