Articles have a prominent role in our daily usage of English language. With out knowing the proper usage of these Articles we can not speak or write correct English. In this article i will explain what is Articles and where they are used.

What is The Articles ?

The adjectives a or an and the are called Articles. They are really Demonstrative Adjectives. We can classify articles in to two types.

Types of articles

  1. Indefinite Article.
    A or an is called Indefinite Article, because it leaves indefinite the person or thing spoken of: as,
    a boy, that is any boy.
  2. Definite Article.
    The is called he Definite Article, because it points out some particular person or thing; as,
    He saw thedoctor, meaning some particular doctor.

Use of Indefinite Articles - A or An

The choice between a and an is determined by sound.

An  is used before a word beginning with a vowel sound; as,
An ass, an Indian, an apple, an umbrella, an hour, an honest man, an heir.

Now you might have noticed that the word hours, honest, heir, doesn't  begin with a vowel sound, still why we used an.? The reason for that is simple, as the initial consonant h is not pronounced in these words.

A is used before a word beginning with a consonant sound;as,
A boy, a driver, a yard, a cat, a hole, also a university, a union, a European, a ewe, a unicorn, a useful article- because these words( university, union, a useful article etc.) begin with a consonant sound that of yu.

Some other uses of Indefinite Articles

  1. It is used in its original numerical sense of one; as,
    Twelve inches make a foot.
    Not a word was said.
    A word to the wise is sufficient.
    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  2. In the vague sense of a certain; as,
    A Ram Kumar( a certain person named Ram Kumar) is suspected by the police.
    One evening a beggar came to my door.
  3. In the sense of any, to single out an individual as the representative of a class: as,
    A pupil should obey his teacher.
    A cow is a useful animal.
  4. To make a common noun of a proper noun; as,
    A Daniel come to judgement.( A Daniel= a very wise man) 

Use of the Definite Article - The

The Definite article the is used-

  1. When we speak of a particular person or thing, or one already referred to; as,
    The book you want is out of print.
    I dislike the fellow.
    Let us go to the ground.
  2. Before a singular noun when it is meant to represent a whole class; as,
    The cow is a useful animal.
    [Or we may say, " Cows are useful animals."]
    The horse is a noble animal.
    The dog loves meat.
    The rose is the sweetest of all flowers.
    Note that the two nouns man and woman used in the general sense to denote the whole class never have either article; as
    Man is the only animal that uses fire.
    Woman is man's mate.
  3. With names of gulfs, rivers, seas, oceans, groups of islands, and mountain-ranges;as,
    The Persian Gulf.
    The Ganges is considered holy by Hindus.
    London is on the Themes.
    The Indian Ocean.
    The Alps.
  4. Before the names of certain books; as,
    The Vedas, The Quran, The Bible, The Iliad.
    But we say Homer's Iliad, Valmiki's Ramayana.
  5. Before common nouns which are names of thing unique of their kind;as,
    The sun, the sky, the ocean, the sea, the earth.
    Note that some times we may use thebfore a Common noun to give it the meaning an Abstract noun;as,
    At last the warrior (the warlike or martial spirit) in him was thoroughly aroused.
  6. Before a proper noun only when it it is qualified by an adjective or a defining adjectival clause;as,
    The great Akbar, The immortal Mahathma Gandhi
    TheMr. Shivan whom you met there is my uncle.
  7. With superlatives; as,
    Even the strongest man has a weak point.
    This is the best book i have ever read.
  8. With ordinals; as,
    He was the first man i met in my school.
    The ninth lesson in this book is very difficult to understand.
  9. Before musical instruments; as,
    He can play the violin.
  10. Before an adjective when the noun is understood; as,
    The poor are always backward.
  11. Before a noun( with emphasis) to give the force of a Superlative: as,
    The verb is the word (= the chief word) in a sentence.
  12. As an adverb with Comparatives; as,
    The more the merrier.
    (=By how much more, by no much the merrier)
    The more they get, the more they want. 

Now i think that now you have got a broad idea of Articles in English Language. You have to practice by making new sentences like the examples above to make their usages correct in your writings and speech.

Like it on Facebook, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.