Articles in English Grammar

Articles in English Grammar


  • What are articles used for?
    How do you write a good article?
    How many types of articles are there in English?
    How many articles are there?
    What does an article do?
    What is a article examples?
    How long is an article supposed to be?
    How do you end an article?


There are two kinds of articles:

Definite:              the

Indefinite:          a, an

Indefinite in the following cases: A & An

We use ‘an’ with words that begin with a Vowel sound.
an egg, an apple, an orange

We use ‘an’ with words that begin with a Consonant sound.
an honest person, an hour,

We use ‘a’ with words that begin with a Consonant sound.
a book, a car, a horse, a house

We use ‘a’ with words that begin with a Vowel sound.
a unit, a university,



Indefinite in the following cases: A


  • With certain numbers: Before half

when half follows a whole number:

1 ½ kilo = one and a half kilo or a kilo and half

But ½ kg = half a kilo (no a before half),

though a + half + noun is sometimes possible:

  • When the person, place or thing is unknown to the reader or the speaker, as placed before Mr/Mrs/Miss + surname:
  • a Mr. Sharma     a Mrs. Sharma
  • When you mean “one”: a glass, a cup of tea, a boy
  • When you want to identify or define a person, place, or thing (singular): a cow is a useful animal

Indefinite in the following cases: A

  • Before a singular countable noun which is used as an example of a class of things:

A bus must be insured = All buses

  • In exclamations before singular, countable nouns:

Such a long queue!         What a pretty girl!

  • But plurals do not take articles:

Such  long queues!          What pretty girls!

  • With a noun complement- Names of professions:

He’ll be a singer.

  • In certain expressions of quantity:

A lot of, a couple of,  a great deal of, a great many, a dozen  (but one dozen is also possible).

Let’s call a friend, and go on a picnic.

My wife and I bought a new house last year.  It has a small yard, so we planted some flowers.

I came here a year ago.

She’s a doctor.

Indore is a city in M.P.

It’s a coffee grinder.


Omission of a/an

  • Before uncountable nouns: uncountable nouns are always singular and are not used with a, an

I want some advise or help.

  • Before names of meals, except when these are preceded by an adjective

She gave us a good lunch.

  • Article is also used when it is a special meal given to

celebrate something or in someone’s honour.

We were invited to a dinner given to welcome the

new chief.

  • But note that in The rent is Rs. 500 a week.


Some words commonly occur with the (0) article, especially in certain phrases with prepositions:

breakfast, lunch, dinner, go to bed, school, class, college, come by train, bus, plane, car

The word coffee is a generic noun. It is a symbol for coffee in general.

Do you like coffee?
Would you like some coffee?
The coffee is very strong.


The definite article –the

  • Specific person, place, or thing.
  • All common nouns- no count, singular count, and plural count.
  • When we mention a noun for the second time.
  • The reader knows the person, place, or thing.
    Time periods (in the morning, in the afternoon,) ( the past, the beginning, the spring, the 20th century)
  • Parts of the body in a prepositional phrase. (on the leg)
  • Social and economic classes and some other special groups.( the middle class, the clergy)
  • Adjectives that mean a group of people who are (the rich, the homeless)


The definite article –the

  • All proper nouns that contain an –of phrase.( The United States of America, The University of Texas)
  • Geographic names that contain the word kingdom, republic, or union
  • Bodies of water (except lakes and bays)
  • Regions (the Middle East, the South)
  • Points of the globe (the equator, the north pole)
  • Deserts and forests ( the Sahara desert, the Black Forest)
  • Buildings, bridges, named roads, tunnels, towers, monuments
  • Hotels, theaters, libraries, museums
  • Historical periods

Articles in English Grammar

The definite article –the

  • Names of organizations, departments, and political parties
  • Musical Instruments listen to the radio play the piano
  • Names of historical documents
  • Names of newspapers
  • Plural family names (used to refer to all members of a family.)
  • Adjectives naming nationalities that mean “the people from this country”
  • Titles that refer to a unique person (the Pope, the President)
  • Electronic sources
  • Ships and trains (the Titanic)


The definite article –the

  • Use –the in these phrases: go to the bank, the store, the post office, the bathroom. Go to the theater, the movies
    go to the doctor, the dentist, the hospital call the police,

Omission of –the

  • Nature, (Where it means the spirit creating and motivating the world of plants and animals) etc. is used without the:

If we interfere with nature, play with fire, play with water……………..

Omission of –the

  • Before names of the places except as shown above, or before names of people.
  • Before abstract nouns except when they are used in a particular sense;

Men fear death ( no Article)

The death of the Minister left his party without a leader.

  • After a noun in the possessive case, or a possessive adjective: the girl’s father = the father of the girl.

It is my (red) dress =       The (red) dress is mine.

  • Others

on campus, off campus, on foot, by bus, by train, go home, go to work, go to school  go to church, play football

Omission of –the

  • Before names of meals:

The Wedding breakfast was held in my father’s office.

I had breakfast at 9 in the morning.

  • Before names of games:

The football game was good;      He plays football / golf.

  • Before parts of the body and articles of clothing, as these normally prefer a possessive adjective:

Raise your right hand;                    He took off his coat.

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