There are three articles in English. They are “a, an and the”. They come before nouns. So, we can say that their function is to aid nouns.
We classify articles on the basis of specific / particular and common things. There are two types of articles. They are:
- Definite article (The)
- Indefinite articles (a & an)
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.
- I went to the doctor.
- The man who wrote this book is my favorite.
- TheSun rises in the East.
- They are travelling in the Arctic.
- This is the 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, Artic, 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:
Use “THE” to refer to something which has already been mentioned in a sentence.
Use “THE” when we assume something, even if it has not been mentioned earlier in a sentence.
Use THE to identify a particular person or thing:
Use THE in order to refer to unique people or objects.
Use THE before superlative and ordinal numbers:
Use THE with adjectives when we are to refer a whole group of people:
We use THE with decades:
We use “THE” with clauses introduced by “ONLY.”
We use THE with names of geographical areas, mountain ranges, groups of islands, canals, oceans and all specific things or objects.
We use “THE” with those countries that include the words “republic”, “kingdom” or “states” in their names.
We use “THE” with those countries that have plural names.
We also use “THE” with the names of newspapers.
We tend to use “THE” with the names of famous buildings, works of art, museums or monuments, hotels and restaurants etc.
We also use “THE” with the names of families but not with the names of individuals.
Conditions where NOT to use Definite Article “THE”
There are certain situations where the definite article “THE” is not used. These are:
“The” is not used with the names of countries.
“The” is not used with the names of languages.
Definite article “THE” is not used with the names of meals.
“THE” is also not used with people’s names.
“THE” is not used when we are referring to titles combined with names.
We do not use THE after the possessive case.
THE is not used with profession.
“THE” is also not used with the names of shops.
We do not used THE with years.
THE is also not used with uncountable nouns.
“THE” is not used with the names of individual mountains, lakes, oceans and islands.
Names of towns, streets, stations and airports do not follow the definite article “THE”.
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.
“An” is used with words that begin with vowel sounds.
- An apple a day keeps a doctor away.
- He is an actor.
CONDITIONS WHERE INDEFINITE ARTICLE AN IS USED:
“An” is used before words that begin with vowel sounds.
“An” is also with singular countable nouns. It also comes before an adjective or an adverb-adjective combination starting with the vowel sounds.
“An” is used with singular nouns not with plural nouns.
We use indefinite articles before those words which sound like they start with a vowel even if their first letter is a consonant.
“AN” is also used with abbreviations (individual letters) that begin with vowel sounds.