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English Grammar Articles [a, an, the]

What are articles on English grammar? An article is a word used before a noun to indicate whether a noun refers to something specific or not. A, an and the are articles.

Examples:

  • I need a pencil box.

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In the previous sentence we find the article “a“. This shows us that he does not need a specific pencil box. He can have any pencil box.

  • I want an apple.

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In the previous sentence we find the article “an“. This shows us that he does not need a specific apple. He can have any apple.

  • I want the yellow car.

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In the previous sentence we find the article “the” This shows us that the speaker wants a specific car.



In English, there are two kinds of grammar articles.

The Definite Article

‘Definite’ means clear, obvious.

A definite article tells us that a noun is specific. A speaker talks about a certain (or known) thing.

The definite article in English is  ‘the’.

  • The knife I bought very sharp.
  • He has a son and two daughters. The son is a engineer.
  • The teachers were really good.
  • I remember the day we first met.

The can be used before both singular and plural nouns.

  • The book he gave me was very interesting.
  • The apples on the table are dirty.

The Indefinite Article

‘Indefinite’ means not clear, not exact.

An indefinite article tells us that a noun is not definitive. The speaker talks about anything of this kind.

The indefinite articles in English are ‘a’ and ‘an’.

  • I need a book.
    • He does not tell us what book he needs. He just need a book, any book.
  • Diana wants to listen a song.
    • She does not tell us which song Diana wants to listen . She wants to listen some song.

What is the difference between ‘a’ and ‘an’?

‘A’ and ‘an’ have the same meaning. We use ‘a’ before a consonant sound.

Examples:

  • a dog
  • a building
  • a country
  • a professor
  • a university

We use ‘an’ before a vowel sound.

Examples:

  • an apple
  • an umbrella
  • an eye
  • an hour

Important!

We use ‘a’ and ‘an’ only before a singular noun. We can’t use ‘a’ and ‘an’ before a plural noun.



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