Articles in English Grammar

Articles in English Grammar

Articles “ a/an”. are used for a noun. Article "the" modifies a noun like an adjective. 
Example:  a laptop, the laptop, a glass, the glass, an umbrella, the umbrella

The article “the” is called definite article and the article “a/an” are called indefinite article.


Types of Article

There are two type of articles in English grammar.

1. Indefinite articles: a/an

2. Definite article: the                          

Definite Article (the)

The definite article "the" is used for a definite, specific  noun. 

Example:  He bought the tie.

The article “the” before the noun “tie” means that the tie, he bought,  is a specific or particular tie and not any tie. 

Indefinite Article (a/an)

The definite articles “a/an” are used for indefinite, non-specific or non-particular (common) noun. 

Example: He bought a shirt.

The article “a” before shirt  means that the shirt he bought is any shirt and not a specific shirt.

Rules for using Indefinite Article (a/an)

The article  “a” is used before a singular word beginning with a consonant, or a vowel with a consonant sound.
Example: a helmet, a car, a mobile phone, a university, a European.


The article  “an” is used before a singular word beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or consonant with vowel sound (or beginning with mute h ).
Example: an apple, an elephant, an umbrella, an hour, 


More Examples (a/an)

1. Before a singular countable noun.
    e.g.  He bought a book
            He  is eating an apple.


2. Before a singular noun referring to a class of things.
     e.g.  An orange is rich in vitamins.


3. Before a name of a profession.
    e.g. She wants to be pilot.
           He is an engineer.


4. For certain expressions of quantity.
    e.g. a lot of, a few, a couple, a dozen


5. For certain numbers.
    e.g. a hundred, thousand, a million

6. Before a singular, countable noun in exclamation.
    e.g. What a beautiful girl!
           What a nice bag!

7. Article a/an are not used before uncountable nouns
    e.g. water, milk, sugar, salt etc 

Rules of using definite Article (the)

The article “the” is used before a singular and plural nouns.

 e.g. the chair, the chairs.


1. Before the place, object or group of object which is  considered to be unique and geographical region and points on globe.
     e.g. the earth, the sun, the sky, the stars, the north pole, the equator


2. For a noun which becomes definite or particular because it is already mentioned  and still is being mentioned a second time.
    e.g. The mother feeds a baby and the baby gets quiet.


3. For a noun which is specific or definite in a clause or a phrase.
    e.g. The young boy, The girl with hazel eyes, The man that I met, The nice black pants.


4. Before superlatives, and first, second,.. etc, and only
    e.g. The best day, The only subject, the second year.


5. Before a phrase  of a proper and common noun.
    e.g. The Karachi city, The river Punjab, The class of chemistry.


6. Before the names of organizations
    e.g. The Chamber Of Commerce, The Pakistan Medical Association 


7. Before names of scientific principles, theories, laws etc. e.g. the Pythagorean      theorem, the laws of Newton, The Fahrenheit Scale. But no article will be used for these names if written in forms like, Newton’s Law, Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures, Hook’s Law of Elasticity


8. Article “the” is not used for names of universities if they form like Oxford University, Aligarh University, Karachi University. But article “the” is used if names of university are written in forms like The University of Oxford, The University of  Karachi, The University of Sir Syed.  


9.  Article “the” is not used for names of countries, Cities,  places.

e.g. New York, America, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, London, Lahore. 

But article “the” is used for a name, if it expresses a groups of place, state, or land.

e.g. The United States, The Philippines, The Netherlands.

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