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Articles in English are part of our everyday conversation. One should have a deep understanding of the importance of articles in English. Wondering whether articles belong to pronouns, adverbs, or adjectives? Want to know more about the articles, types, definitions, examples ?
Determiners are words that determine or identify a person, or a thing or specify a quantity or amount. Determiners include articles and words traditionally classified as kinds of adjectives or pronouns.
- That house
- This umbrella
- Some salt
- Those mountains
Without knowing about determiners it is impossible to learn about articles.
The major determiners in English are as follows;
- A few
- A little
A monosyllabic word that is short and is used to denote the specificity of nouns. It determines whether the noun is specific or not. Articles in English are often used before nouns. They speak about the noun in one way or the other. So we can also add them to the category of adjectives.
Merriam-Webster defines an article as a small set of words that provides specificity and definiteness to the noun. There are only two types of articles in the English language.
- The definite article(the)
- The indefinite article( a/an)
An article is regarded as one kind of determiner and definite and indefinite article together gives shape to an article. In English, a language learner should understand the importance of definite and indefinite articles before constructing sentences.
The three articles in English are as follows
- When the identity of the noun is known to the readers it is used before the noun and hence it is called the definite article- the.
- When the identity is unknown or talking about general topics then you can use an indefinite article- a or an
- There are exceptions where the noun stands without any articles
The Definite Article
“The” is known as the definite article in English. The definite article is used to define a specific thing, person, or situation.
- The red car is a special gift
- The water in the well is unclean
Use of the Definite Article
The definite article is used before a noun which denotes a special person or thing.
- the moon
- the earth
- the sun
- the universe
- the stars
- the clouds
- the galaxy
“The” should be used before a noun to describe a class to which the noun belongs.
- The lion is the king of the forest
- The Lilly is a beautiful flower
- The white colour symbolizes peace
“The” can also be used before the name of the rivers, mountains, peaks, canals, oceans, etc
- The Nile
- The Congo
- The Himalayas
- The Pacific
- The Indian Ocean
“The” is used before the names of holy books, books, newspapers, poems, reference books, etc
- The Ramayana
- The Holy Bible
- The Mahabharata
- The Quaran
- The Oxford Dictionary
- The Merriam Webster
“The” is used before the names of the countries and also in the case of Kingdom, Republic, etc.
- The United States
- The United Emirates
“The” can also be used with proper nouns for a specific reference.
- The India of today is not the India under the colonial rule
- The great poet Kalidas is known as the Shakespeare of India.
The definite article is always used before the superlative degree.
- He is the tallest man in the town
- She is the shortest girl in the village
- The Nile is the longest river in the world
“The is also used to denote the class, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, and so on.
- The rich and the poor in the country have different requirements
“The” should be repeated when two people are referred to in the conversation
- The orator and the minister addressed the audience.
- The politician and the policeman agreed to the opinion
Definite Article: Omission
Before the proper noun, the definite article should be omitted.
- New Delhi
Before the name of the substance, the definite article should be omitted.
- The gold is mined with effort
- The bread production is very popular in India
- The bronze medal should reach the owner.
Before the name of the meals, never use the definite article.
- Lunch will be served at 1 pm
- Dinner should be finished before 9 pm
The definite article is used in cases where the meals are specified by the speaker.
- The dinner was hosted by then
- You were absent from the lunch we had arranged.
Before the name of the games, never use the definite article
- She likes volleyball
- Hockey is very popular nowadays
- Cricket Live is on
Before the name of the language, never use the definite article
- He speaks English without error
- He loves French
- His thesis was done in German
- She knows Hindi as well as Tamil
Never add a definite article before the names of Festivals
- We celebrate Christmas on 25th December every year
- Onam is a festival of Keralites
- Diwali is the festival of lights
Before the Idiomatic phrases, we can’t use articles
- At night
- In fun
- On foot
- At Ocean
Before the institutions are named after certain places and persons, we can’t use articles.
- Oxford University
- Theresa’s College
- Cambridge University
The Indefinite article
A or An is the indefinite article. An indefinite article is used to denote something which is not specific. Things that are not definite can be denoted with the help of an indefinite article.
The indefinite article is used before singular nouns in English. The indefinite article “an” is used before the vowel sounds and “a” before the consonant sounds. For instance,
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away
- I saw a man in the courtyard
- can I have an eraser?
- He wanted to write with a pencil
- He spotted an airplane.
- That’s a pet dog.
- She is a doctor.
- Use a calculator to calculate.
A is used before the words beginning with the consonant sounds
- a rider
- a room
- a window
- a book
- a boy
- a flower
- a fruit
- a chair
A is used before the nouns which start with the sounds like “au, y, or w”
- a European
- a one rupee coin
- a university
- a union
- a uniform
- a unit
An is used before the nouns starting with vowel sounds or silent h
- an umbrella
- an egg
- an honest girl
- an hour
- an apple
a/ an can also be used in the sense of one.
- there is a bird in the nest
- there is a carrier on the road
- a girl climbed up the wall
- she will be back in an hour
a/ an can also be used to denote the sense of “every”
- She gets Rs 100000 a month as a salary
a/ an is also used to represent the class
- an oak is a strong tree
- a baby can’t walk alone
- a lion cub is visible now
a/ an is also used as a reference given to the speaker about strangers
- a Mr. Gopakumar came to see you
- a Ms Devika visited the home as part of the survey
When a proper noun is treated as a common noun, a/an can be used
- He is a Shakespeare
- He is a Newton
- She walks like a Mother Theresa
The indefinite article should be repeated when two different persons or things are meant.
- I have a red and a blue salwar
- I met a scholar and a philosopher today
Note down the words in English starting with a vowel, but use ‘a’ instead of ‘an’:
Here, you can note down the words starting with a consonant but use ‘an’ instead of ‘a’.
- We can read a book
- I can dance to the song
- An hour more to go
- She had an apple for breakfast
- Mrithul is a painter.
- You can buy a cake.
- She is learning a speech.
- Move the table
- He is a genius
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