Articles and their Usage with Examples

  ARTICLES 

Introduction:

There are three articles in English which are “a, an and the”. As they come before nouns, therefore, we can say that their function is to aid nouns.

We classify articles on the basis of their usage with specific or common things. There are two types of articles. Which are:

  1.       Definite article (the)
  2.       Indefinite articles (a and an)

DEFINITE ARTICLE

We classify “THE” as a definite article. It is used to point out some particular or specific thing or person. So, we use “THE” with a definite person or a thing.

For instance:

  1. I went to the doctor.
  2. The man who wrote this book is my favorite.
  3. The Sun rises in the East.
  4. They are travelling in the Arctic.
  5. This is a painting from the 1880’s.

In above listed examples, “THE” is used to point out specific persons (doctor and man) and specific object, place or time (Sun, East, Arctic, Painting and Time-1880).
By using definite article “THE” with a doctor and man indicates that we are talking about some specific doctor or man.
Similarly, we again used “THE” with an object, direction, place, and painting and time period to indicate that we are talking about a particular object, direction, place, painting and time period.

CONDITIONS FOR USING DEFINITE ARTICLE:

Now, there are some specific conditions where we use the definite article “THE.” They are enlisted below:

  1. Use “THE” to refer something which has already been mentioned in a sentence.

For example:

  • She was walking past MIR’s bakery when she decided to go into the bakery to get some bread.
  • I like Kashmir cloth houses so I usually wear the brand of that very shop.
  1. Use “THE” when we assume something, even if it has not been mentioned earlier in a sentence.

For example:

  • Where is the kitchen?
  • We went on a walk in the forest.
  1. Use “THE” to identify a particular person or thing:

For example:

  • She is the girl I came to see.
  • The man who was there is my father’s colleague.
  1. Use “THE” in order to refer unique people or objects.

For example:

  • The Sun rises at 5 am in morning.
  • Clouds drifted across the sky.
  1. Use “THE” before superlative and ordinal numbers:

For example:

  • This is the highest building in Dubai.
  • This is the third time she called you today.
  1. Use “THE” with adjectives when we are to refer a whole group of people:

For example:

  • The French enjoyed this meal a lot.
  • I used to give a lot of money to the poor.
  1. We use “THE” with decades:

For example:

  • He was born in the eighties.
  • This is an antique vase from the 1660’s.
  1. We use “THE” with clauses introduced by “ONLY.”

For example:

  • My father is the only person I listen to.
  • This is the only brand I use to wear.
  1. We use “THE” with names of geographical areas, mountain ranges, groups of islands, canals, oceans and all specific things or objects.

For example:

  • They planned to go on a cruise down the Nile.
  • We have visited the Arctic.
  1. We use “THE” with those countries that include the words “republic”, “kingdom” or “states” in their names.

For example:

  • I dream of visiting the United States.
  • My uncle is from the republic of Ireland.
  1. We use “THE” with those countries that have plural names.

For example:

  • She has never been to the Netherlands.
  • I have never visited the Ukraine.
  1. We also use “THE” with the names of newspapers.

For example:

  • I read it in the Dawn.
  • My cousin had worked for the NEW YORK TIMES.
  1. We tend to use “THE” with the names of famous buildings, works of art, museums or monuments, hotels and restaurants etc.

For example:

  • She loves to visit the museum of Taxila.
  • I saw King Lear at the Globe.
  1. We also use “THE” with the names of families but not with the names of individuals.

For example:

  • We are having dinner with the Pathans tonight.
  • I am going to play chess with the Browns.

Conditions where NOT to use Definite Article “THE”:

There are certain situations where the definite article “THE” is not used. These are:

  1. “The” is not used with the names of countries.

For example:

  • I live in Pakistan.
  • Germany is an important economic power.
  1. “The” is not used with the names of languages.

For example:

  • English has borrowed many words from Latin.
  • I can speak French as well as Spanish.
  1. Definite article “THE” is not used with the names of meals.

For example:

  • Dinner is my favorite meal.
  • She went away to take her lunch.
  1.  “THE” is also not used with people’s names.

For example:

  • Alina usually comes late to college.
  • Rameen has finished her work.
  1. “THE” is not used when we are referring titles combined with names.

For example:

  • Prince Charles is Queen Elizabeth’s son.
  • Ahmed is an employee of this office.
  1. We do not use “THE” after the possessive case.

For example:

  • Her father’s cellphone was stolen yesterday.
  • This is Javeria’s bag.
  1. “THE” is not used with profession:

For example:

  • Medicine is a well-paid carrier.
  • Teaching is my mother’s occupation.
  1. “THE” is also not used with the names of shops.

For example:

  • She went to Kashmir Cloth House.
  • My brother works at IDL pharmacy.
  1. We do not used “THE” with years:

For example:

  • 1948 was a wonderful year.
  • This is a great film from 1997.
  1. “THE” is also not used with uncountable nouns:

For example:

  • Rice is an important food in Asia.
  • Sugar is not good for diabetic patients.
  1.  “THE” is not used with the names of individual mountains, lakes, oceans and islands.

For instance:

  •  My friend lives near Lake Winder-mere.
  • She asked, “Have you ever visited Charna Island?”
  1. Names of towns, streets, stations and airports do not follow the definite article “THE”.

For example:

  • My aunt lives in Florence.
  • Can you direct me to Mozang?

 

INDEFINITE ARTICLES

There are two indefinite articles in English. They are “a and an.” They are used with a common person, place, thing or object and also they are determined by vowel sounds.

Indefinite Article “An”

“An” is used with words that begin with vowel sounds.

For example:

  •  An apple a day keeps a doctor away.
  •  He is an actor.

CONDITIONS WHERE INDEFINITE ARTICLE “AN” IS USED:

  1. “An” is used before words that begin with vowel sounds.

For example:

  •       An orange,
  •       An honest man,
  •       An umbrella,
  •       An Italian girl,
  •       An intelligent student.
  1. “An” is also with singular countable nouns. It also comes before an adjective or an adverb-adjective combination starting with the vowel sounds.

For example:

  •       She is an intelligent girl.
  •       He is an excellent teacher.
  1. “An” is used with singular nouns not with plural nouns.

For example:

  •       I saw an elephant in Lahore zoo.
  •       This is an insect which has poison in its body.
  1. We use indefinite articles before those words which sound like they start with a vowel even if their first letter is a consonant.

For example:

  •       I have an hour to complete this task.
  •       Her name begins with an “F”.
  1.  “AN” is also used with abbreviations (individual letters) that begin with vowel sounds.

For example:

  •       She is an MA girl,
  •       My cousin is an FBI agent,
  •       I remained an AIOU student.

Indefinite Article “A”

Indefinite article “A” is used with indefinite common person, place or object. It is used before those words that begin with consonant sounds.

CONDITIONS WHERE INDEFINITE ARTICLE A IS USED:

Following are enlisted those conditions where we have to use indefinite article A:

  1. “A” is used with those words which are not and begin with consonant sounds.

For example:

  •       A book
  •       A girl
  •       A great man
  1. We use “A” to refer something for the first time.

For example:

  •       Would you like a cup of tea?
  •       She went out to get a taxi.
  1. “A” is also used with nationalities and religions in a singular form.

For example:

  •       John is a Catholic.
  •       She is a Pakistani girl.
  1. “A” is also used with the names of days of the week. But it must be kept in mind that “A” is used when we are not referring to any particular day.

For example:

  •       I was born on a Friday.
  •       She remains busy on a Monday.
  1. “A” is also used when we are referring to an example of something.

For example:

  •       He is a very strange man.
  •       The mouse has a tiny nose.
  1. A is also used with singular nouns after the words like “what” and “such”.

For example:

  •       She is such a beautiful girl.
  •       What a shame he brought to his family.
  1. Indefinite article “A” is used with those words that start with vowel letters but begin with a consonant sound.

For example:

  •       A university student,
  •       A European man,
  •       A one parent family.
  1. “A” is also used with abbreviations (individual letters) that begin with consonant sounds.

For example:

  •       He is a NATO general
  •       My sister is a BA passed girl.

CONDITIONS WHERE INDEFINITE ARTICLES (A and AN) ARE NOT USED:

We do not use indefinite articles (“A” and “AN”) with nouns in following conditions:

  1. Indefinite articles both “A and AN” are not used with uncountable nouns.

For example:

  •       Kindly give me information about this matter.
  •       My father always gives me good advice.
  1. Indefinite articles are not used before plural countable nouns which are used in a general sense.

For example:

  •       Children love to eat chocolates.
  •       Laptops are used in many offices.
  1. “A” and “An” are not used before the names of relations.

For example:

  •       Father has returned from office.
  •       Uncle wants to see us.
  1. Both indefinite articles are not used before predicate nouns which denote a unique position (a position that is generally held at a time by one single person).

For example:

  •       Mr. Ali was elected chairman of the board.
  •       My father became Principal of the college in 1997.
  1. Indefinite articles (“A” and “AN”) are not used before most proper nouns (excluding those which are referred earlier).

For example:

  •       Rahim is my best friend
  •       Pakistan is a developing country.
  •       Dinner is ready.
  •       We are studying English.
  •       He goes to church on Sundays.

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