Article and Types | How to Use Definite and Indefinite Articles

Article and Its Kinds. Definition of Article, Definite Article, and Indefinite Articles with definitions and examples. Learn where and how to use articles.

Article and Types | How to Use Definite and Indefinite Articles 

Topic Preview of Article and Its Kinds

  • Definitions of Articles
  • Types of Articles
  • Definite Articles
  • Indefinite Articles
  • Difference Between Definite and Indefinite Articles
  • Applications of Articles
  • Rules for Indefinite Articles
  • Rules for Definite Articles
  • Where Articles are NOT Used.
  • Everything with Examples.

Definition of Articles

The articles are the kinds of adjective which are used before a noun or noun equivalents to definite its specificness or un-specificness generality. We can also define “articles” as the words which nominate a noun specific or unspecific.

Examples

The simplest examples are:

A Mobile (Unspecific)

The Samsung Mobile (Specific)

Kinds of Article

There are two kinds of articles; the first is Indefinite Article whereas the second named as Definite Article. Let us learn one by one.

Indefinite Articles Definition

In English grammar or English language, a and an are termed as indefinite articles which nominate or mark unspecific nouns. We use these articles with general nouns.

Indefinite Articles Examples

A ball, a watch, a book, etc.

Indefinite Articles Examples Sentences

We use indefinite articles before such common nouns which can be counted. On the other hand, we cannot use these articles before uncountable common nouns. For examples;

Articles for Countable Common Nouns

A chair, a pen, a bag

An eagle, an inkpot, an arrow

Articles for Uncountable Common Nouns

We cannot use any indefinite article before uncountable common nouns. For examples;

An honey, an ego, and an independence. (Incorrect)

A milk, a water, and an oil. (Incorrect)

Articles for Vowel Sounded Common Nouns

If a noun starts from a letter that is vowel sounded, we will use an before that noun, For example;

An egg, An airplane, An umbrella, An hour, etc.

Articles for Vowel Lettered Common Nouns

If a noun starts from any of the vowels (a,e, i, o,u) but doest give vowel sound, we will place ‘a’ before that noun instead of ‘an’. For instance;

A University, A European League, A one dollar toy, etc.

Articles for Material, Proper and Abstract Nouns

We cannot use ‘a’ or ‘an’ before material, proper and abstract nouns, and before such things which cannot be counted. Examples are given below.

A Gold (Material Noun) ⇒ Incorrect,  Gold ⇒ Correct

A New York (Proper Noun) ⇒ Incorrect,  New York ⇒ Correct

An Honesty (Abstract Noun) ⇒ Incorrect,  Honest ⇒ Correct

A Water (Uncountable Noun) ⇒ Incorrect, Water ⇒ Correct

Articles for The Adjectives

We can use ‘a’ or ‘an’ before an adjective only when that adjective comes with a noun. For Example,

He is a good. ⇒ Incorrect,  He is a good player. ⇒ Correct

He is good commentator ⇒ Incorrect, He is a good commentator. ⇒ Correct

She is absolutely honest girl. ⇒ Incorrect,

She is absolutely an honest girl. ⇒ Correct

Definite Articles Definition

In English grammar, ‘the’ is used to nominate a specific noun and known as a definite article.  In fact, the definite article is the shape of ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’, and ‘those’ which signals any noun.

Definite Articles Examples

The English Magazine, The Yamaha Bike, The Peral Continental Hotel.

Definite Articles Examples Sentences

Definite Article for Common Nouns

When there comes a common noun once in a sentence, we use ‘a’ or ‘an’ before it but when a common noun comes again, use ‘the’ before it. For instance;

I saw a dog but the dog was mad.

I bought a bat. The bat was fully knocked.

I sold a computer. The computer gave me a good price.

Definite Article for Man or Women

When man or woman means all human beings, we cannot use ‘the’. Examples;

Man is mortal.

Man is woman’s mate.

Definite Article for Different Adjectives

(i) When an adjective is used for a group or gender, write ‘the’ before it but it is not necessary to write the name. For example;

The rich men should help the poor man. ⇒ Incorrect

The rich men should help the poor. ⇒ Correct

(ii) Use ‘the’ before the 3rd (superlative) degree of adjective. For example;

He is the best reciter in our class.

Last night was the darkest of the whole month.

Yesterday was the hardest day for the mountaineers.

It is the most beautiful flower I have ever seen in this garden.

(iii) When there is no adjective with ‘wind’ or ‘sea’, use ‘the’ before it. Let us see how;

The wind was strong.

The sea was calm.

(iv) We can use ‘the’ before the 2nd (comparative) degree of the adjective only when the second action/work is caused by the first action/work. For example;

The higher the mountaineers go, the cooler it will be.

Relationship between ‘The’ and ‘Of’.

If there is ‘of’ after a noun/name, write ‘the’ before that name/noun. See examples below:

Gama was the Rustum of Pakitan.

The arms of the fighter were broken badly.

Definite Article and Title of a Personality

When only the title of a person is used, use ‘the’ before the title. But when the title is used along with the name, ‘the’ will not be used. For example;

Alexendar ⇒ Incorrect

The Alexender ⇒ Correct

The Alexender Grahm Bell. ⇒ Incorrect

Alexender Graham Bell. ⇒ Correct

The Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. ⇒ Incorrect

The Quaid-e-Azam. ⇒ Correct

Muhammad Ali Jinnah. ⇒ Correct

Definite Article for Late Persons

When the word ‘late’ gives the meaning of a dead person, use ‘the’ before it. For Example;

The late king.

The late president of the United States.

Definite Article for Miscellaneous Items

(v) The definite article ‘the’ is also used after ‘all’ and ‘both’ and before ‘whole’.

All the boys were participating in the pre-exams.

Both the participants were encouraged to take part freely.

The whole goods of the merchant were extremely liked.

(vi) The definite article is used before the names of the nations, popular, and historic buildings.

The Muslims, The English, The Jahangir’s Tomb, The Taj Mehal, etc.

(vii) For newspapers, holy books, and magazines. For examples;

The Jung, The New York Times, The Holy Quran, The Bible.

(viii) Use ‘the’ before the names of seas, rivers, mountain ranges, airplanes, religious sects, movements, and musical instruments.

The Arabian Sea, The Nile River, The Ravi, The Himalayas, The Sikhs, The Piano, The flute, The Tipu Sultan (ship), etc.

(ix) Use ‘the’ before celestial bodies, directions, parts of bodies, and dates. For instance;

The sun, The moon, The East, The earth, The sky, The heart, The arm, and The 1st of September.

(x) If a country consists of multiple parts, use ‘the’ before it.

The Republic of China, The United Arab Emirates, etc.

(xi) When two adjectives represent one noun, the article will be used before the first adjective only.

Here is a white and black horse.

Here is an English and Urdu dictionary.

(xii) When two or more adjectives represent different nouns, the articles will be used separately.

A white and a black horse were running.

(xiii) When two or more nouns represent one person, the article will be used only before the first noun.

He was appointed as a coach and selector.

(xiv) When the nouns are different, the article will be used before both the nouns.

The headmaster and the teacher of this school are hardworking.

Where We Can’t Use Articles?

When to use NO Article in English

When We do not use Articles

(i) We do not use any article before material and abstract nouns irrespective of they are used specifically.

Gold is a precious metal. (No Article, Material Noun)

The gold of Mysore is very dear. (Specifically)

Love is like a flower. (No Article, Abstract Noun)

The love of money is forbidden. (Specifically)

(ii) Do not use ‘the’ before languages, days, months, diseases, and food names.

Arabic, English, Sunday, March, Cholera, and Lunch, etc.

(iii) We cannot use any of the articles before any noun followed by this, that, some each, every, what, which or any possessive case.

He wants this pen. (Correct)

He wants the this pen. (Incorrect)

Which book is yours? (Correct)

Which the book is yours? (Incorrect)

You may also learn:

The Adverb Clause

Letter Writing in English

Preposition and Types

Adjective and Types.

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