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English Usage - The Article

Updated on October 23, 2012

INTRODUCTION TO ARTICLES

1) A, an and the are called demonstrative adjectives. They are also called articles.

Indefinite article

A and an are called indefinite articles because the person or thing spoken of is usually left indefinite.

Example: a teacher (means any teacher)

Indefinite articles are used before singular countable nouns.

Example: a table, an elephant

Definite article

The is called the definite article as it usually points out to some particular person or thing.

Example:

She learnt from the teacher.

(means a particular teacher)

The definite article is used before singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns.

Example: the table, the sugar

2) CHOICE OF a or an

If a word begins with a vowel sound, an is used.

Example: an elephant, an inkstand, an orange, an apple, an honest man

If a word begins with a consonant sound, a is used.

Example: a boy, a horse, a cat, a university

 

3) Examples for A

 

1. a boy

2. a flower

3. a book

4. a tall tree

5. a watch

6. a pen

7. a baby

8. a clock

9. a cap

10.a rose

Examples for AN

 

1. an apple

2. an ass

3. an owl

4. an enemy

5. an axe

6. an elephant

7. an umbrella

8. an eagle

9. an engine

10. an orange

4) When you repeat a noun, the definite article is used.

Example:

1. A tiger is a wild animal. The tiger is our national animal.

2. An old man came to my house. The old man asked for food.

Disclaimer: The above article only represents the personal views of the author, who doesn't claim to be an expert in this field. This is in no way a subsititute for professional advise/education . The author disclaims specifically any responsibility for any action or decision taken on the basis of this article.

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