Definite and indefinite articles a an the examples

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Definite articleThe’ and indefinite article ‘a’ and ‘an’.  How we use articles before Noun. There are some important rules of use of articles. In this article you will know about definite and indefinite articles and their correct use in sentence. Read the full article so that you can use articles with error free.

What is article?

The words a, an and the are called article in English grammar. Articles come before nouns in English sentences.

Definite and indefinite articles

Indefinite article – a, an

Indefinite article a/an is used with singular nouns. For examples

  • I bought a watch yesterday.
  • That is a tiger.
  • Please give me an orange.

In the above sentences a an is indefinite article. Here the listener doesn’t know which one exactly referring to. The speaker does not pointing directly hence a/an is indefinite article.

Note:  Indefinite article a/ an can not be used before uncountable nouns. E.g. He was wearing blue shoes. See Countable and Uncountable nouns.

Rules of indefinite article (a, an)

  1.  Before singular noun, Indefinite article a/ an is used. If the first sound is consonant of a pronunciation then a article can be used and an article is used before vowel sound.
indefinite article examples
  • There is a book on the table.
  • He saw a tiger in jungle.
  • She bought a pen.
  • He gave me a one rupee note.

In the above sentence, we use a article before nouns book, tiger, pen, one rupee note. These word starts with a consonant sound. See the following examples that start with a vowel sound and takes an article.

use of an article

  • An umbrella.
  • An hour
  • An apple
  • An FO
  • An honorable person

*A/an comes before singular countable noun but when dozen, hundred, thousand great many etc. are Used before plural countable nouns then we can also use a/an indefinite article.

For examples

  • I paid a thousand rupees for this show.
  • He wanted to buy a dozen of eggs.
  • John bought the cover for a hundred rupees.
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Some important indefinite articles
A one dollarAn hour
A one million dollarAn honourable person
A houseAn honest man
A eulogyAn heir
A uniqueAn SDO
A unityAn SP
A usefulAn ocean
Definite article (the)

The definite article (the) is the most use word in English language. When the speaker knows well to what he exactly referring to, definite article the is used. Here assume the speaker is pointing through figure. For examples

  • He is the tallest boy in the classroom.
  •  Look at the boy standing outside. ( the boy speaker pointing at)

In these two sentence the speaker directly referring at the boy so the definite article the is used. There are some important rules of using definite articles the. Some rules are discussed below.

rules of the article the

1. Use the article before superlative degree for examples

  • Ram is the tallest boy in the family.
  • She is the most brilliant girl in the class.
  • It is the oldest tree in the village.

In the above sentence the article is used because the sentences are in superlative degree. There is only one that context.

2. Use definite article the when the speaker is pointing something directly. For examples

  • Look at the car.
  • That is the man who came here yesterday.
  • Use the definite article when a noun refers to the entire class. For examples
  • The dog is a faithful animal.
  • The kangaroo is found only in Australia.
  • The rose is a beautiful flower.

3. The definite article is used before the noun which are unique or only one in the world. For examples

  • The sun
  • The moon
  • The Tajmahal
  • The sky
  • The bible
  • The earth

4.   use the article before the musical instruments. For examples

  • The piano
  • The guitar
  • The flute

5. Do not use the definite article before a language but when it refers to a community then the articles can be used. For examples

  • The English are a brave people.
  • The French have a glorious past.

In the above sentence English, French refers to the community and not their language.

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Definite and indefinite articles (Rules of the)

  • Gold is a very precious metal.
  • Bread is made from flour.

In this sentence we can not use the gold, the bread because gold and bread is used in general sense and not talking about a particular gold.

The gold found here is of poor quality.

In this sentence, the is used before gold because here talking about a particular gold which is found here. It does not refer all the gold in general.

2. Do not use the definite article before the names of games in sentence. For example

  • We play volleyball in the evening. (Not the volleyball)
  • Chess is a game that requires great patience and skill. (Not the game)
Similarly the names of games like tennis, hockey, ludo, cricket, football; we do not use the definite article before them

Definite and indefinite articles

3. Do not use the article before the words king and queen if the words king and queen are followed by their names. For example

  • Queen Victoria (not the queen Victoria)
  • King George v (not the king George v)

In the same way when we say pope. We can use the article before pope but when pope is followed by name then do not use the article before pope. For examples

  • The pope is visiting Africa.
  • Pope John is visiting Africa.

4. We do not use the article before the name of university. But the is used before the name of university when it followed by of. i.e. “university of “ for examples

  • The university of oxford
  • The University of Delhi.
  • University of madras.

Exception: when the university is in the name of a person do not use the before it. I.e. you can not say or write, for examples

  • The University of Jawaharlal Nehru. (incorrect)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University. (correct)

5. Do not use any articles before the names of season. For examples

  • Spring
  • Winter
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Thus article a an the are used before nouns. A/an is indefinite article and the is called definite article .no article use before uncountable nouns. There are some important rules of using definite and indefinite articles which we have discussed above. See countable and uncountable noun.

definite and indefinite articles exercises

Q1. …my friend is … M.A in…English.

Q.2 … Bible is…holly book.

Q.3 There is…zoo in Calcutta.

Q.4   I like …red colour.

Q.5 ….French revolution began in 1789.

Q.6 is there any milk left left in… Fridge.

Q.7 there is…. water left, so do not waste.

Q.8 London is on… themes.

Q.9 …French live in France.

Q.10 he is… European.

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Rules of NounTag Questions Exercises