The adjectives a, an and the are called Articles.
Types of Articles
Articles are basically categorized into two broad categories
Use of Indefinite Article?A/An
a. An is usually used before a word beginning with a?vowel sound
(i) Radha is an intelligent girl.
(ii) He is an MP. ? ? (sound of ?em?p where e is a vowel)
(iii) You are an honest man. ? ?(sound of ?own?est where o is a vowel)
b. ?A is used before a word beginning with a?consonant sound
(i) He is a university student. ?(sound of ?you?niversal where y is a consonant)
(ii) He is a European. ? ?(sound of ?you?ropean where y is a consonant)
(iii) He is a one-eyed man.
c. A/An is used before a singular countable noun only when it?is mentioned for the first time representing no
particular person or thing.
(i) He has an oxen.
(ii) She is a landlord.
(iii) A boy came to my home.
d. A/An is used before a singular countable noun which is?used as the representative of a class of things or persons.
(i) A lion is a dangerous animal.
(ii) A pupil should obey his teacher.
(iii) A dog is a faithful animal.
e. A/An is used to make a common noun of a proper noun.
(i) My neighbour is a philanthropist.
(ii) She is a Sania Mirza.
(iii) His brother is a PM.
f. A/An is used in exclamations before singular countable?nouns.
(i) What an interesting video
(ii) What a pretty girl
(iii) What a lovely morning
g. A/An is used in its original sense of one or any.
(i) He wants a car.
(ii) There are not fourteen inches in a foot.
(iii) He bought a pen.
Use of Definite Article?The
a. when we talk about a particular person or thing or one?already mentioned.
(i) Give me the pen which you bought last Saturday.
(ii) The book you want is out of stock.
(iii) I met a boy. The boy was handsome.
b. when a singular noun represents a whole class.
(i) The rose is a beautiful flower.
(ii) The dog loves comfort.
(iii) The Neem is a useful tree.
c. Before the first noun in ?noun + preposition + noun??construction.
(i) The Rama?of Ramayana is an ideal king.
(ii) The diamond of South Africa is famous.
(iii) He likes the food of Jaipur.
d. Before names of mountain-ranges.
The Himalayas, The Alps, The Aravallis
e. Before names of groups of islands.
The West Indies,?The Andamans
f. Before names of rivers, oceans, gulfs, deserts and forests.
The Ganges, ?The Nile,?The Amazon, ?The Indian Ocean,?The Gulf of Mexico, The Thar deseert, The
g. Before names of religious and mythological books.
The Ramayana, The Quran, The Bible
h. Before names of newspapers and magazines.
The Times of India, The?Outlook
i. Before names of heavenly bodies, directions and things?unique of their kind
The sun, The earth,?The moon, The?equator
Note that ?The? is not used before the words ?Parliament, Heaven, God, Hell ?.
j. before names of historical buildings, places and events.
The Red Fort, The Taj Mahal, ?The Siachen, The Dandi March
k. Before musical instruments.
(i) He can play the flute.
(ii) She is fond of playing the guitar.
Note that?When musical instruments are used as countable?nouns, A/An is used.
(i) We bought a sitar for her.
(ii) I gifted him a violin.
l. Before religious communities and political parties.
The Hindus, The Sikhs, The Bhartiya Janta Party
m. Before names of ships, aeroplanes and trains.
The INS Vikrant, The?Qatar Airlines,?The Rajdhani?Express
n. Before the words denoting physical positions or
The centre, The top,?The front, The back
Further,??before parts of body
(ii) He pulled the dog by the tail.
(ii)?Sohan?was hit on the head.
o. Before names of government departments and armed?forces.
The Legislative, The Judiciary, The Executive, The Air Force, The Army
p. Before the dates of months.
The 21st of December, The 5th June
Note that before the ordinals, we also use the articles
The first, The third, The ninth
q. before the superlative degree.
(i) He is?the best guy for this job.
(ii) She is the sweetest?girl in the class.
r. Before the names of a few countries that form federations and provinces.
The USA, ?The Netherlands, The USSR, The Republic of China, ?The?Punjab
t. Before comparative degree in case of making a choice between the two.
(i) He?is the tougher of the two guys.
(ii) She?is the prettier of the two.
Sometimes there is no need for using any kind of article. Such articles are known as zero articles.?This term used here is not universal but it is aptly used to denote the reference of omission of articles.
The articles a, an, the are omitted
a. Before names of days and months.
(i) She will go on Monday.
(ii) They are getting married in January.
b. Before names of languages.
(i) He cannot speak French.
(ii) She is learning Marathi.
c. Before names of subjects.
(i) She has no interest in mathematics.
(ii) Biology is his favourite subject.
d. Before names of diseases.
(i) AIDS is spreading like wild fire.
(ii) He died of cancer.
Note that??The? is used before the names of a few diseases.
the plague, the measles,the mumps,
e. Before names of festivals and seasons.
(i) He will go to USA?in winter.
(ii) She celebrated Diwali?with her friends.
But note that
(i) He will go to Canada in the winter season.
(ii) She went to Delhi in the Diwali holidays.
f. Before names of sports.
(i) She plays tennis.
(ii) We like cricket.
g. Before names of meals.
(i) They take lunch at 2 pm.
(ii) Breakfast is ready.
h. Before school, college, church, prison, hospital, bed,?market, when these places are visited or used for their
(i) She goes to temple?on Sunday.
(ii) The criminal was sent to prison.
i. before man, life, death, art, science, when these words?are used in the widest sense.
(i) Science has developed much in the past fifty years.
(ii) Man is mortal.
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