In the article, we will discuss Articles A, An, The in English Grammar. The following topics will be covered:
Table of Contents
An Article is a word that modifies a noun. It is also known as a Demonstrative Adjective. The English language consists of 3 articles :
Types of Articles
The Indefinite Article implies that a noun refers to a general idea rather than a specific person or thing.
- To specify ONE
In a day or two. (in one or two days)
He didn’t say a word. (not even one word)
- To specify a CERTAIN thing/person
A Peter is suspected by the police. (a certain man named Peter)
- To imply ANY (when an individual represents a class)
A soldier should obey his commander.
A cow is a milch animal.
- To use a PROPER NOUN as a COMMON NOUN
A Lincoln came to save us. (A Lincoln = a very powerful president)
The Indefinite Article takes 2 forms.
It is used before words beginning with a consonant sound.
a boy, a woman, a unit (yunit), a one-rupee note (wun)
It is used before words beginning with a vowel sound.
an eye, an umbrella, an hour (h is silent), an heir (h is silent)
The Definite Article is used to specify a particular or definite person or thing.
- To refer to some PARTICULAR person or thing
Call the girl standing outside.
- To indicate a WHOLE CLASS with a Singular Noun
The lion is a fierce animal.
- As an ADVERB
The more, the merrier.
The fewer, the better.
- Before RIVERS, MOUNTAIN RANGES (not individual mountains) and GROUPS OF ISLANDS
The Ganges, the Indus, the Thames
The Himalayas, the Alps (not the Mount Everest)
The British Isles, the Lakshadweep Islands
- Before OCEANS, GULFS, SEAS, and BAYS
The Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Persian Gulf.
- Before the names of some PROVINCES, COUNTRIES, etc.
The United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, the Deccan
- Before the names of WELL-KNOWN BOOKS
The Bible, the Vedas, the Koran, the Ramayan
- Before the names of NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, etc.
The Times of India, the New York Times, the Hindustan Times
- Before the names of PUBLIC BUILDINGS, INSTITUTIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, etc.
The Taj Mahal, the University of London, the United Nations
- Before the names of PEOPLES (NATIONS), FAMILIES and ADJECTIVES formed from Proper Nouns
The English language, the Turkish tobacco, the French, the Chinese, the Gandhis, the Hindus
- To use a COMMON NOUN as an ABSTRACT NOUN
He played the fool. (foolishness)
The mother in her was aroused. (motherly feeling)
- Before ORDINALS and SUPERLATIVES
The fifteenth of October, the third occasion, the seventh time
It was the hottest day of the year.
- Before a PROPER NOUN qualified by an Adjective or an Adjective phrase/clause
The immortal Shakespeare, the wise Solomon, the great Caeser
- Before an ADJECTIVE used as a NOUN
The poor depend on the rich.
The wise hate the foolish.
- Before COMMON NOUNS which are UNIQUE
The sun, the moon, the earth, the sky
Omission of Articles
- Before Common Nouns used in the widest sense.
Man is mortal.
- Before Proper Nouns
Mumbai is a big city.
Ashoka was a kind ruler.
- Before Abstract Nouns used in a general sense
Honesty is the best policy.
NOTE: THE is used only when it is qualified by an adjective.
- Before Material Nouns (unless specifying a particular piece of metal)
Gold is a precious metal.
Iron is a chemical element.
- Before titles coming before Proper Nouns
King George V, Lord Serpentine, Professor Bhatt, Saint Paul
- When the noun is the object of the verb
His clothes caught fire.
She sent word to that she was coming.
He lost heart very soon.
He set foot on on the moon.
- When a Preposition is followed by a Noun
By hand, by land, by sea, by rail, in turn, at tea, at midnight, at dinner, by name, in bed, at ease on deck, on sale