What is an Article?

Articles are very essential words in English and so is their knowledge. Articles are used formerly only nouns to bound or define their (Nouns) uses in the context of the sentence. They impart effectiveness and accuracy to the nouns. Actually, articles are used as affectionate adjectives and determiners before nouns.

There are two kinds of articles.

  1. Indefinite article – A, An,(in the sense of “one” and “any”)
  2. Definite articles –The ( in the sense of “this” and ‘that’ )

Rules of Articles

The use of indefinite Articles ‘A’, ‘An’

Rule 1

A student must note that the optimal between A and An is determined primarily by Sound


i) A is used before a word beginning. –

a boy, a child, a student, a book

      ii)  With a vowel giving the sound of a consonant.e.g –

       a European, a uniform, a unique book, a universal problem


An is used before a word beginning.

I) With a vowel. e.g

An elephant, an apple, an ass, an umbrella

Ii) With a mute ‘h’ . e.g

An hour, an heir, an honest man, an honorary post

Iii) With a consonant pronounced with the sound of a vowel e.g

An LL.B student, an M.P, an S.P, an F.I.R, an M.L.A, an X-RAY

Rule 2

I) Indefinite article A/An is used when we talk of a thing or a person that is definite or that is mentioned for the first time.

ii) The indefinite article is also to express a class (in the sense of any)

A)  Before a particular /countable common noun when it is stated for the first time representing no particular person or a thing.e.g

1) I need a book.

2) Twelve inches make a foot.

3) A beggar came to my door.

4) Please get me a scooter.

B) Before a particular countable noun which is used to single out some person/something as a representative of a class of things , animals and persons.

1) A cow is a useful animal.

2) A beggar cannot be a chooser.

3) A rose is a beautiful flower.

4) A son should be obedient.

C) To create a common noun of a proper noun to express quality.

1) A shylock is living in my neighborhood.

2) He is Ram known for his fairness.

D)Incertain expression of quantity with certain numbers and expression of price/rate, speed, ratio. E.g

1) Rupees ten a kilo.

2) A dozen mangoes.

3) Half a dozen.

E)  When A/An represents a weakened form of a preposition in e.g

1) He earns fifty thousand rupees a year.

2) We should brush our teeth two times a day.

F) In exclamation with ‘what ‘or ‘how’ before singular countable nouns. e.g

i) What a hot day !1

ii) What a pretty girl!

iii) What a naughty child!

iv) How fine a day!

v) What a fool he is!

G) Note the position of the indefinite article in the following adverbs:;

Rathers, very, much, quite, so, too, such, as e.g

i) It is rather a nuisance.

ii) It is rather a good step.

Iii) He is a very good person.

iv) He is a much-hated character.

v) She is too weak a student to pass.

H) Before a person not known to the speaker. E.g

1) A Mr. Gupta   = Some Mr. Gupta

2) A Mr. Sahu     = Some Mr. Sahu

The use of Definite Article ‘The’

Rule 3

A) When we talk of a particular person or a thing as already mentioned, known or under discussion, e.g

i) The book (which you mentioned) is not available in the market.

ii) Let us study the lesson carefully. (lesson in hand)

B) Previously accurate nouns (exceptional substances) after they  indication to the names of historical buildings, mountain ranges, planets, rivers, oceans, gulfs, groups of islands, holy books, ordinals, descriptive names of countries, states, newspapers, magazines, deserts, etc

i) The Persian Gulf

ii) The Taj Mahal

iii) The Netherlands

iv) The Moon

iv) The Sun

v) The Earth

vi) The USA

vi) The Vedas

vii) The Sudan

viii) The Ganges

ix) The Saharaˍ

x) The Times of India

C) When a particular noun expresses a class of animal or things. But ‘the’ is avoided with their plural forms and persons to express a class. E.g

i) The dog is a faithful animal.

ii) The rose is a sweet flower.

Iii) The cow is economically useful.

iv) Dogs are faithful.

Note: Indefinite article ‘A’ is used –

1) in the sense of ‘any’ to single out a person, a thing or an animal as a representative of a class.

i)  A son should be obedient.

ii)  A cow is a useful animal.

iii)  A mango is a sweet fruit.

iv)  Sons should be obedient.

2) ‘ Man/Woman/Mankind’ used in general sense to represent the human race is used without the article. E.g

i) Man is mortal  – used in general sense.

D) Before an adjective when it represents a class of persons. e.g

i) The rich should help the poor.

ii) The old are respected by the young.

E) Before musical instruments e.g.

i) He can play the flute.

ii) She is fond of playing the harmonium.

F) As an adverb with a comparative sense. (Double comparison) e.g

i) The sooner, the better.

ii) The higher you go, the colder it is.

G) Before comparative degree in case of a choice. E.g

   i) She is the weaker of the two sisters.

   ii) Which is the more beautiful of the two sisters?

H) Before proper noun for the sake of comparison .e.g

i) Surdas is the Milton of India.

ii) Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India.

I) Before sports cups, and trophies. e.g

i) India won the singer cup last year.

ii) A number of teams are taking part in the world cup.

J) Before caste and communities. E.g

i) The Rajputs are brave people.

ii) The Marathas are hard working.

Rule 4 – The Omission of Article

The article A/An, The are omitted –

A) Before proper noun. e.g

i) Mohan was the greatest dramatist.

ii) Delhi is the capital of India.

B) Before names of materials e.g

i) Silver is a useful metal.

ii) Tea grows in India.

Iii) The water of the Gange is scared.

C)  Before common noun used in its widest sense e.g

i) Man is Mortal.

ii) God is omnipresent.

D) Before languages. e.g

i) Chinese is a difficult language.

ii)He knows Russian very well.

Leave a Comment