‘Articles’ in English Grammar

‘Articles’ in English Grammar There are primarily two Articles in English grammar – A(or An) and The.
An Article is a word which grammatically specifies the definiteness of the noun that it sits before.
A article works almost as an Adjective. In fact, it’s been categorised as a part of speech under Adjective. However, the Articles are also been classified as Determiners in modern English. So, in Determines, we will see a lot of adjective kind of words which specify nouns. We’ll talk about them in our next chapter. Today, we’ll learn Articles.
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Two Types of Articles

Indefinite Article An Indefinite article is called such because the person or thing it refers to is indefinite or not particular from common nouns.
  • A player — it can be any player.
  • I saw a car speeding past the church [it can be any car]
  • A wife cannot stand this [it refers to any wife of any one.. a section of the common noun]
  • A crazy person can talk like this [it implies any crazy person who is talking like this]
So, an Indefinite Article denotes any person or any thing sitting before a noun.
Definite Article: A Definite Article, as the name suggests, points our a definite or particular person or thing [from the common nouns]. Unlike an Indefinite Article, Definite Article  refers to a person or thing which’s already been spoken of.
  • I saw a car speeding past the church.
  • The car met with an accident in the cross-way.
Follow the noun ‘car’ in the above two sentences. In the first one,I spoke any car which I saw. Now, I came to know about that car again which met with an accident. So, it’s become something particular or definite as already we have talked about it. Hence, the use of Definite Article.
Note: There are a few special and mandatory cases where we must use the Definite Article regardless the fact the noun is a common noun or not. We’ll check them later.
Usages of Articles
An Indefinite Article sits before a singular countable noun and it reflects the quantify 1. [A Book=1 Book]
A man, a car, a book, an apple
A Definite Article sits before singular countable nouns, plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns.
→ the man, the cars, the milk
A or An (Indefinite Articles)
So, we’ve known what articles are and how we use them. Now, in the Indefinite Articles, there are two particular form of indefinite articles which represent the Indefinite Articles altogether. They are A and An. Now, we will see how to use them.
Sound of a noun effects the placement of either A or An. All words do not have identical sounds; some sound as vowel and other may sound like consonant. In simple terms, an is placed before a word starting with vowel.
→ an orange, an apple, an enemy
The words above start with a vowel (in letter). So, follow this rule always. But, as said, indefinite articles are placed based on the sound of the nouns. Let’s check them out.
  • a hotel
  • an honest.
Both the above words start with a consonant ‘H‘, but the second one (honest) sounds like a vowel ‘O‘ despite it has a consonant at the start. In this case, we need to put ‘An‘ article and not ‘A‘, always.
→ an honorable person  [sounds like - O]
→ an hour [sounds like 'Aa']
→ an SMS  [sound like -A]
→ an FBI agent [sounds like -A]
→ an L shape road [sounds like -a]
Likewise, if a noun starts with a vowel and sounds like a vowel ‘U‘, we need to put ‘A‘ instead of ‘An‘ [defying the previous rule that all vowel started nouns have must an before them as articles].
European country [the word 'European' start with a vowel 'E' but it also sounds like a vowel 'U'. So, we need to use A instead of An.]
university [Same here. The word starts with vowel and sounds like a vowel 'U']. So, only A will be used.
More examples
→ a ewe [sounds like 'U']
→ a union
The noun ‘ONE‘ will always have ‘A‘ as an article, even though it starts with a vowel and does not sound like ‘U
  • A one way journey
  • A one dollar coin
A few native speakers use ‘An‘ before nouns beginning with ‘H‘ when the first letter is not stressed.e.g. an hotel, an historical event. But modern English grammar does not approve of them and we should use ‘A‘ before both the words hotel and historical.
So, we’ve learnt the articles, especially known the usages of A and An and somewhat ‘The’. Now, we will move to usages of the Definite Article, ‘The’.

The Definite Article ‘The’.

We already know that ‘the’ is used when we refer to any particular noun which we have already spoken of. However, there are certain nouns before which we need to use the definite article ‘The’ irrespective of the noun category it belongs to. You can say, this is mandatory as per the English grammar. Let’s check them out.
The Definite Article ‘The’ is used 
Before the historical places-
→ the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the World Trade Center.
Before certain proper nouns such as rivers, oceans, group of islands, deserts and mountain ranges-
→ the Atlantic, the Pacific [oceans]
→ the Netherlands, the West Indies [group of islands]
→ the Ganga, the Nile [rivers]
→ the Sahara [desert]
→ the Himalayas, the Alps [mountain ranges]
Before the nation names when told in acronym-
→ the USA, the UAE, the UK
Before the nation names which use ‘kingdom, republic or so-
→ the United States of America, the republic of China
Before the newspapers-
→ the Times, the Telegraph, the Asian Times,
Before the superlative adjectives-
→ the best, the most beautiful
Before the adjective when understood in common noun-
→ the poor, the rich
Before the musical instruments-
→ the flute, the piano
Before elite books-
→ the Ramayana, the Iliad, the Vedas
Before names of unique kind-
→ the sun, the moon, the earth, the universe
In this chapter, we’ve talked about articles and their usages. In my next chapter, we will go deep into the same with more arguments and examples. These are the basics of Articles and they are used universally. Follow them to avoid any error in grammar.
Do let me know with your valuable comments if anything else to add or omit here. Use the comment box below to leave your comments.

‘Articles’ in English Grammar

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