Articles A, An, The

In the article, we will discuss Articles A, An, The in English Grammar. The following topics will be covered:

  1. Articles Definition
  2. Types of Articles A, An, The
  3. Omission of Articles

Articles Definition

An Article is a word that modifies a noun. It is also known as a Demonstrative Adjective. The English language consists of 3 articles :

  1. A
  2. An
  3. The

Types of Articles

  1. Indefinite Article
  2. Definite Article


The Indefinite Article implies that a noun refers to a general idea rather than a specific person or thing.


  1. To specify ONE
    In a day or two. (in one or two days)
    He didn’t say a word. (not even one word)
  2. To specify a CERTAIN thing/person
    A Peter is suspected by the police. (a certain man named Peter)
  3. To imply ANY (when an individual represents a class)
    A soldier should obey his commander.
    A cow is a milch animal.
  4. 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.


  1. To refer to some PARTICULAR person or thing
    Call the girl standing outside.
  2. To indicate a WHOLE CLASS with a Singular Noun
    The lion is a fierce animal.
  3. As an ADVERB
    The more, the merrier.
    The fewer, the better.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Before the names of some PROVINCES, COUNTRIES, etc.
    The United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, the Deccan
  7. Before the names of WELL-KNOWN BOOKS
    The Bible, the Vedas, the Koran, the Ramayan
  8. Before the names of NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, etc.
    The Times of India, the New York Times, the Hindustan Times
    The Taj Mahal, the University of London, the United Nations
  10. 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
  11. To use a COMMON NOUN as an ABSTRACT NOUN
    He played the fool. (foolishness)
    The mother in her was aroused. (motherly feeling)
    The fifteenth of October, the third occasion, the seventh time
    It was the hottest day of the year.
  13. Before a PROPER NOUN qualified by an Adjective or an Adjective phrase/clause
    The immortal Shakespeare, the wise Solomon, the great Caeser
  14. Before an ADJECTIVE used as a NOUN
    The poor depend on the rich.
    The wise hate the foolish.
  15. Before COMMON NOUNS which are UNIQUE
    The sun, the moon, the earth, the sky

Omission of Articles

  1. Before Common Nouns used in the widest sense.
    Man is mortal.
  2. Before Proper Nouns
    Mumbai is a big city.
    Ashoka was a kind ruler.
  3. 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.
  4. Before Material Nouns (unless specifying a particular piece of metal)
    Gold is a precious metal.
    Iron is a chemical element.
  5. Before titles coming before Proper Nouns
    King George V, Lord Serpentine, Professor Bhatt, Saint Paul
  6. 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.
  7. 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