English Grammar: Articles

There are two types of articles: Definite and Indefinite

English articles infographic

Image by English Marathon (Pinterest)

Indefinite Article (A,AN):

First of all, these articles are used for singular countable nouns.

If the pronunciation of these nouns begin with consonants, then article “a” is used whereas for pronunciations of vowels (a, e, i, o, u), then article “an” is used.

Examples: a boy, an apple, an hour, an umbrella, a person

If nouns are preceded by any adjective, the article will change according to pronunciation of that adjective.

Examples: a hard-working man, an effective tool

Definite Article (THE):

How to use article "the"

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If we are describing about specific item then we use definite article “the”. Sun, earth, sky, etc are unique so they naturally include article “the”. If the listener or reader knows exactly what you’re pointing to then this article is used.

If we are talking about the whole group or community.

Example: The horse is a noble animal. This means all horses are noble.

– with countries made of number of small groups. These are usually named as “states” or “kingdom”.

Example: the USA, the UAE, the UK

– with countries that have plural names. Example: the Netherlands

– with the whole system.

The road network was recently enhanced.

When you should not include any article?

If the noun is uncountable, then there will not be any indefinite article. But still you may use article “the”.

Example: I need information about registration process.

Students have fair degree of knowledge about computer programming.

The knowledge they have acquired could be useful later in later stages of their lives.

For your easy understanding, I’ve coloured all nouns with blue colour.

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