‘a’,’ an’, and ‘the’ are called articles.
‘a’ and ‘an’ are called indefinite articles.
An indefinite article indicates that its noun is not a particular one (or ones)
identifiable to the listener.
It may be something that the speaker is mentioning for the first time, or its
precise identity may be irrelevant or hypothetical, or the speaker may be
making a general statement about any such thing.
‘a’ or ‘an’ is used before a common noun in the singular.
We use the article ‘a’ before words beginning with a consonant sound. ‘an’
is used before words beginning with a vowel sound.
A bus, a dog, a cow, an apple, an elephant.
Remember (Indefinite Articles):
Indefinite article does not refer to a particular person or thing.
A boy was playing football.
Indefinite article is used to introduce a noun for the first time
I saw a cow drinking water.
Indefinite article is used with a Noun which is used to represent a particular class or group.
An elephant is a big animal.
Indefinite article is used in the numerical sense of one.
John has a pencil.
Indefinite article is used to refer an unfamiliar person.
A Mr. Ken is waiting for you.(Speaker does not know Mr. Ken)
Indefinite article is used to make a common noun out of proper noun.
He is a Tagore in the making (a Tagore : a well known writer)
‘A’ is used before words beginning with a consonant sound.
A dog, a pencil, a school
‘An’ is used before words beginning with a vowel sound.
An apple, an elephant
How to Pronounce "the" .
Normally, we pronounce "the" with a short sound (like "thuh"). But when "the" comes before a vowel sound, we pronounce it as
a long "thee".
vowel sound we write we say
• A the apple thee apple
• E the egg thee egg
• I the ice-cream thee ice-cream
• O the orange thee orange
• U the ugly animal thee ugly animal
Emphatic the [thee]
• When we wish to place emphasis on a particular word, we can use "emphatic the" [thee], whether or not the word begins
with a consonant or vowel sound. For example:
A: I saw the [thuh] Prime minister yesterday.
B: What! The [thee] Prime minister of India ?
A: Yes, exactly.
A definite article indicates that its noun is a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener.
It may be something that the speaker has already mentioned, or it may be something uniquely
specified. The definite article, for both singular and plural nouns, is the.
Definite article points out a particular person or thing.
The boy standing there is my friend.
The Taj Mahal is a beautiful monument.
Definite article is used before
• A noun which is repeated after it has been introduced.
I saw a cow. The cow was grazing in a field.
• A singular noun meant to represent a whole class of persons or things.
The mobile phone is now a necessity.
• Geographical terms, news papers and scared books.
The Pacific Ocean, The Bay of Bangal, The Hindu, The Washington Times, The Bible, The Koran.
• The name of an object which is the only one of its kind.
The moon, The sky, The Earth
• The names of groups belonging to different countries or religions.
The German, The French, The Christians, The Muslims
• The names of families or architectural structures or important events.
The Tatas, The Ambanis, The Taj Mahal, The Eiffel Tower, The Russian Revolution,
• Adjectives in the Superlative Degree
This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
• The names of countries which are a union or federation of smaller units or which is plural in form.
The USSR, The USA
He was the first to reach.
• An adjective when the noun is understood.
The poor are always ignored ( Poor people)
• As an adverb with the comparative Degree.
The more you study, the greater is the knowledge you gain.
• When endowing someone with the qualities of certain well known personalities.
She is the Lady Gaga of our college. He is the Pele of our team.
Articles are not used before:
• Proper nouns like December is the last month of the year.
John is playing in the field
• Material and abstract nouns Tables are made of woods.
Platinum is a rare metal .
• Common noun used in general sense. Which bus is it ? Man is a social animal
• Plural nouns used in general sense Cats are loyal. Boys like football.
• The name of languages. He has learnt French. She is learning German
• The name of a game. Cricket is the most famous game in India.
• Uncountable numbers, unless a particular
quantity is referred to. Egg is good for health. Water is cold.
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