Articles An article is an adjective. Like adjectives, articles modify nouns. a an the
Kinds of Articles Example: The dog that bit me ran away. (It is about a specific dog, the dog that bit me) Indefinite – a or an is used to refer to a non-specific or non-particular member of the group. Definite – the is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular member of a group. Example: My daughter really wants a dog for Christmas. (It refers to any dog.)
Rules in Using Articles Rule 1: a + singular noun beginning with a consonant E.g. a boy, a car, a bike, a zoo, a dog Rule 2: an + singular noun beginning with a vowel E.g. an elephant, an egg, an apple, an idiot, an orphan Rule 3: a + singular noun beginning with a consonant sound E.g. a user (sounds like 'yoo-zer,' i.e. begins with a consonant 'y' sound, so 'a' is used); a university ; a unicycle Rule 4: this rule applies to acronyms: a + singular noun beginning with a consonant sound E.g. Introductory Composition at Purdue (ICaP) handles first-year writing at the University. Therefore, an ICaP memo generally discusses issues concerning English 106 instructors.
Rules in Using Articles Rule 5: If the noun is modified by an adjective, the choice between a and an depends on the initial sound of the adjective that immediately follows the article. E.g. a broken egg, an unusual problem a European country (sounds like 'yer-o-pi-an,' i.e. begins with consonant 'y' sound) Rule 6: The indefinite articles are used to indicate membership in a group. E.g. Brian is an Irishman. (Brian is a member of the people known as Irish.) Seiko is a practicing Buddhist. (Seiko is a member of the group of people known as Buddhists.)
Rules in Using Articles Rule 6: the can be used with non-count nouns, or the article can be omitted entirely E.g. I love to sail over the water. (some specific body of water) OR I love to sail over water. (any water). Rule 7: a/an can be used only with count nouns E.g. I need a bottle of water. I need a new glass of milk. Count and Non-Count Nouns He spilled the milk all over the floor (some specific milk, perhaps the milk you bought earlier that day) OR He spilled milk all over the floor. (any milk)
Rules in Using Articles Rule 8: names of most countries/territories E.g. Italy, Mexico, Bolivia; however , the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the United States Geographical Use - Do NOT use the before: Rule 9: names of cities, towns, or states E.g. Seoul, Manitoba, Miami Rule 10: names of streets E.g. Washington Blvd., Main St. Rule 11: names of lakes and bays E.g. Lake Titicaca, Lake Erie except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes Rule 12: names of mountains E.g. Mount Everest, Mount Fuji except with ranges of mountains like the Andes or the Rockies or unusual names like the Matterhorn Rule 13: names of continents E.g. Asia, Europe Rule 14: names of islands E.g. Easter Island, Maui, Key West except with island chains like the Aleutians, the Hebrides, or the Canary Islands
Rules in Using Articles Rule 15: names of rivers, oceans and seas E.g. the Nile, the Pacific Geographical Use - Do USE the before: Rule 16: points on the globe E.g. the Equator, the North Pole Rule 17: geographical areas E.g. the Middle East, the West Rule 18: deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas E.g. the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula
Rules in Using Articles Omission of Articles Some common types of nouns that don't take an article: Rule 19: names of languages and nationalities E.g. Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian Rule 20: names of sports E.g. volleyball, hockey, baseball Rule 21: names of academic subjects E.g. mathematics, biology, history, computer science