The articles are the words “a”, “an”, and “the”. They tell us whether something is specific or unspecific.
SPECIFIC: This is the monument.
UNSPECIFIC: This is a monument.
TYPES OF ARTICLES
- Definite Articles
- The definite article (the) is used before a noun to indicate that the identity of the noun is known to the reader.
- The word “the” is one of the most common words in English. It is our only definite article.
- Nouns in English are preceded by the definite article when the speaker believes that the listener already knows what he is referring to.
- Indefinite Articles
- The indefinite article (a, an) is used before a noun that is general or when its identity is not known.
- In English, the two indefinite articles are a and an. Like other articles, indefinite articles are invariable. You use one or the other, depending on the first letter of the word following the article, for pronunciation reasons. Use a when the next word starts with a consonant, or before words starting in u and eu when they sound like you. Use an when the next word starts with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) or with a mute h.
USAGE OF Article ‘A’
- To make the noun indefinite.
The child needed a pencil. (could be any pencil)
- For a singular quantity.
A = one person or one thing
a girl, a doctor
There was a banana left in the basket. (single banana left)
- Placed before a consonant sound
The mother reached a house.(could be any house/consonant sound)
USAGE OF Article ‘AN’
- To make the noun indefinite
The child needed an uncle. (could be any uncle)
- For a singular quantity
There was an orange left in the tiffin. (single orange left)
- Placed before a vowel sound
a.an apple, an interesting movie
b.The mother reached an hour early.(vowel sound)
USAGE OF Article ‘The’
- Used before particular or specific nouns
The dog who bit me ran away. (specific dog bite)
- Used before uncountable nouns.
He broke the glass.(specific glass/non-count noun)
- Before some geographical nouns.
a. Typically, the article the is not used before the names of countries and territories (so “the India” would be incorrect).
b. However, the is used before countries whose names are plural in form (so, “the Netherlands” is correct), and also “The” is used with countries whose names include the words states, kingdom, or republic (so, “the United States” is correct).
The Sahara is a desert. (geographical nouns)