What Are Articles in English Grammar?
Articles in the English language are somewhat complicated. There are many rules you need to be aware of! You can get a good grip on it through listening and reading. On condition that all the rules and types of articles are there in your mind. Here, we have listed types of articles and their usages with examples. Let’s take a deep dive into it and be proficient in using them.
Articles: A Complete Grammar Guide
What are the articles?
There are three articles (A, An, The) in English grammar. Articles are used before a noun, an adjective, and an adverb. For instance,
The book is on the table. (Article placed before a noun)
It is a red wall. (Article placed before an adjective)
Mr. Sam is an unbelievably generous man. (Article placed before an adverb)
What are the types of articles?
There are two kinds of articles in English grammar: definite and indefinite. Let’s recognize them with examples and know their usages.
Rules of Using Articles with Examples
1. Indefinite Article-
A, An are known as indefinite articles. It is used before singular countable nouns to refer to an indefinite person or thing. The indefinite article A is placed before a word beginning with a consonant sound. The indefinite article An is placed before a word beginning with a vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u). Now, let’s discuss various usages of indefinite articles.
Usage of indefinite articles:
- The indefinite article is generally used to indicate a noun that is used for the first time and does not refer to a particular person or thing.
Ex– I saw a movie last night.
My brother bought a computer.
Somebody call an officer!
- The Indefinite article is usually used before words that denote time and measurement, profession, religion, and nationality.
Ex- I am an Indian.
My mother is a doctor.
I see Sam once a week.
- The indefinite article is used to indicate one (number) i.e. singular number.
Ex- My mother gave me a book.
I saw an accident yesterday.
I’d like an apple and two oranges, please.
- The indefinite article is used to single out an individual as the representative of a class when it conveys the sense of any.
Ex- A bird has two wings.
- The indefinite article is used with words like half and quite.
Ex- Carl bought half a kilo of tomatoes from the market.
These books weigh two and a half kilos.
It was quite a good book to read.
- Definite Article-
The definite article The is used before singular, plural, countable, and uncountable nouns to refer to a particular person or thing. Let’s walk through some usages of the definite article.
Usage of definite articles:
- The definite article is used to refer to a particular person or thing.
Ex- I saw the lion at the zoo.
I am going to the hospital.
Let’s go to the beach.
- The definite article is used before a singular noun when it stands as a representative for a class.
Ex- The shark is a meat-eating fish.
The whale is an endangered species.
- The definite article is used before certain adjectives to indicate a class.
Ex- Do the rich pay their fair share?
How can the poor save capitalism?
- The definite article is applied to refer to something that has already been talked about previously.
Ex- This is a dog. The dog is black.
I bought a skirt yesterday. The skirt was at a very reasonable price.
- The definite article is used before an adjective that qualifies a proper noun.
Ex- The great Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India.
The beautiful red fort is famous for its gardens.
- The definite article is used before the names of musical instruments.
Ex- Sabrina plays the guitar very well.
Howard is incredibly good at the piano.
- The definite article is applied before adjectives in a superlative degree.
Ex- The Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies, I have ever seen.
Moraine Lake is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Here is the list of other usages of the definite article.
|It is used before words like sun, earth, sea, moon, stars, sky, ocean, equator, etc.||The sun rises in the east.|
|Used before proper names of ocean and seas.||The Pacific ocean is on the side of North America.The Caspian Sea is shrinking due to evaporation.|
|Used before certain proper names of rivers, canals, and deserts.||The Ganga is the holy river of India.The Sahara is the largest desert in the world.|
|Used before certain proper names of a chain of mountains and countries.||The Himalayan mountain chain is an example of a continental collision.The USA is a third world country.|
|Used before certain proper names of holy books and newspapers.||The Mahabharta is written by the great sage named Vyasa.The Hindu is an English language daily newspaper.|
|Used before certain proper names of groups of islands.||The Andaman and Nicobar islands are to the west of India.|
Hence, we have seen the various usages of both types of articles. However, it is also important to know when not to use articles in sentences.
Zero Article Concept
- Articles are not used before the names of relationships like father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, and uncle.
Ex- Father will buy me a new laptop.
- Articles are not usually used before proper nouns.
Ex- Max likes mangoes.
- Articles are not used before languages.
Ex- Eric is very fluent in English.
- Articles are not used before words like school, college, church, hospital, university, and prison when these places are used for their primary purposes.
Ex- My mother goes to church daily to pray.
- Articles are not used before the names of meals like breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc when used in a general sense. However, the indefinite articles are used before these words when they are preceded by an adjective. The definite article is used before these words when they refer to something specific.
Ex- I had dinner early today.
- The article is often omitted before the nouns man and woman when used in a general sense.
Ex- Woman is generally soft in nature.
- Articles are omitted generally before the sports and academic subjects.
Ex- I like to play cricket.
My brother is good at math.
To conclude, articles are pretty important in English grammar as they come up with information about the noun precede. Learning articles is cardinal as misuse or absence of an article will make a sentence look peculiar.
Read other blogs on English Grammar from here
Hope it helps!! Happy Learning
Jaini Bhavsar (There’s always room for bliss.)
26th June 2020
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