What Are Articles in English?
Articles are very useful in our everyday life. We need to use articles when we define a noun specifically and unspecifically. For example: ‘I have bought a shirt which is available in the new market’. Note: In the sentence, we find the article ‘a’ define ‘shirt’ and the article ‘the’ define ‘new market’. Let’s see what are articles in English grammar?
Definition and Types of Article
Articles are words who modify nouns. In short a, an and the are called article in English. There are two types of article. They are:
- Indefinite article
- Definite article
1. Indefinite Article
The article that defines a noun as non-specific is called the indefinite article. In short, ‘a’ and ‘an’ are called the indefinite article. For example:
- I have to buy a new bicycle.
- She looks like a queen.
- They are gathering in an unknown place.
- It is a beautiful cat.
- He is an angry person for no doubt.
Note: Every article in these sentences define nouns as unspecific.
Usage of ‘a’ and ‘an’
Generally, the article ‘a’ is placed before a consonant sound and the article ‘an’ placed before a vowel (a,e, i,o,u) sound. For example: a boy, a pen, a book an umbrella, an apple etc. The basic usage of ‘a’ and ‘an’ are given below:
- The article ‘a’ or ‘an’ is placed when it addresses someone or something (single countable noun) for the first time. For example:
- A beautiful woman is walking on the road.
- A strange man begs for some foods.
- I have seen an elephant in the street.
- He chooses an umbrella for me.
- The girl was drinking a cup of tea.
2. The article ‘a’ or ‘an’ is placed when it explains profession, class, trade etc. For example:
- My father runs a business.
- He is belonging to an aristocratic family.
- She has been working as a software engineer for five years.
- Mr Joseph is a good teacher.
- Mrs Jerin is running a coffee shop.
3. The article ‘a’ or ‘an’ is placed before ‘dozen’, ‘hundred’, ‘thousand’, ‘million’ etc. For example:
- A dozen people attend the meeting.
- A hundred workers are needed to finish the work.
- A thousand dollars paid to the workers.
- A million people infected with the coronavirus.
4. The article ‘a’ or ‘an’ is placed in exclamatory sentences that stared with ‘what’. For example:
- What a beautiful girl she is!
- What a wonderful moment for us!
- What a nice bird!
- What an exclusive idea!
5. The article ‘a’ is placed before ‘few’, lof of’, ‘little’, ‘great deal’ etc. For Example:
- A few minute age I have missed a train.
- He needs a lot of money to complete his project.
- She has a little brother who has brown hair.
- It’s a great deal for you to have her in the office.
‘The’ is considered a definite article. The definite article usually defines a noun as something specific. For example:
- The cat is watching me.
- I have met the person.
- He knows what is the real thing.
- The tiger is confined in the trap.
- She wants the pink doll to play with it.
The Basic Usage of ‘the’
1. The article ‘the’ is placed in order to indicate a particular person or thing. For example:
- The person looks very handsome.
- The boy is drawing a picture.
- The book is covered every particular topic.
- The man is running for physical exercise.
- The woman cooks good food.
2. The article ‘the’ is placed before a noun which has been mentioned for the second time. For example:
- I see a tea garden. The garden looks awesome.
- Mr Poline buys a pant. The pant trends nowadays.
- She made a new recipe. The recipe becomes more famous.
3. The article ‘the’ is placed before a singular noun that denotes a whole class. For example:
- The lion is a king of all animals.
- The dog is a kind animal.
- The rose is a beautiful flower.
4. The article ‘the’ is placed before an uncountable noun that denotes specific. For example:
- The gold will be perfect to make a ring.
- The water of the glass looks suspicious.
5. The article ‘the’ is placed before the name of a thing that exists only one. For example:
- The sun shines brightly.
- The moon is looking marvellous.
- The earth is the best place for livelihood.
6. The article ‘the’ is placed before a noun that describes a nation or race. For example:
- My brother lives in the USA.
- The English people are more gentlemen.
- W.B. Yeats is the Irish poet.
- Her sister has married in the United Kingdom.
7. The article ‘the’ is placed before an ordinary number. For example:
- The twentieth of August is my birthday.
- He is the first boy in the class.
- The 14th of February is a special day for many people.
8. The article ‘the’ is placed before an adjective to describe a whole class of people. For example:
- The aristocratic people lead a happy life.
- The poor people need help to survive in the world.
- The honest people are always happy.
9. The article ‘the’ is placed before the superlative degree. For example:
- Mr Kamal is the greatest businessman.
- She is the most beautiful girl in her class.
- This is one of the darkest moment for him.
10. Generally, The article ‘the’ is not placed before proper nouns but in some exceptions it placed. The following exceptions are given in the below:
- Names of holy scriptures: The Quran, the Bible, The Bedah etc.
- Names of Islands: The Tibet, The West Indies, The Palawan etc.
- Names of Oceans: The Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean etc.
- Names of seas: The Mediterranean, the Arabian etc.
- Names of rivers: The Padma, the Nile, the Amazon etc.
- Names of sculpture: The statue of liberty, the Pyramid etc.
- Names of famous creations: The Taj Mahal, the great wall of China etc.
- Names of ships: The Titanic, the Disney Dream, the Queen Mary 2 etc.
- Names of newspapers: The Telegraph, the Economics Times etc.
- Names of mountains range: The Himalayas, the Alaksa etc.
The Basic Usage of ‘no articles’
There are many sentences or phrases where the articles are not usually used. The basic usage of no ‘articles’ is given below:
1. Articles are not used before proper nouns. For example:
- Mr Marlin is a famous singer.
- New York is the most affected city in coronavirus.
- Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh.
Note: On articles are used before proper nouns in the above sentences.
2. Articles are not used before material nouns. For example:
- She wants gold to make a ring.
- Iron is a useful metal.
- Coal is used to produce electricity.
Note: In some cases, the article ‘the’ is used before a material noun when it is specifically referred.
3. Articles are not used before abstract nouns. For example:
- Kindness is a good character trait of human beings.
- Honesty is a great virtue.
- My examination is knocking at the door.
Note: In some cases, the article ‘the’ is used before an abstract noun to describe something specific.
Read more: Articles A, An, and The