Grammar aid – articles

Article is a word that only serves to define any noun. A noun can be any:  a person, place, idea, object, etc.

ARTICLE has no independent meaning. Technically, the article is an adjective used to define a noun in two concepts: definite (familiar) noun or not.

There are two types of articles that are used in conversation and writing: definite and indefinite articles. Let’s look at the examples that help you to understand the difference:

“I saw a car in the showroom”. The person does not say about a particular car, it is about the car as a subject in the showroom.

In this case, use the indefinite article “a” [ə] – a car

“I bought the car in a showroom”. In this particular case, we are talking about a vehicle which has been purchased.

In this case, use the definite article “the” [ðə] – the car

ARTICLE is located directly in front of the noun to which it relates. And if before the noun there is some definition, adjective or adverb, the article is placed in front of the phrase:

the paper   —-à  the white paper

the map    —-à  the first map

ARTICLE is not put:

  • Before uncountable nouns: flowers, honey, sugar,
  • Before abstract concepts: love, weather, art,
  • Before proper names: Big Ben,
  • Before the names of countries, cities, streets: Turkey, Lake Ontario,
  • Before the name of religion: Christianity,
  • Before the food words, months, days: dinner, December, Friday,
  • Before other determinants / pronouns: I like her car,
  • Before kinds of music: jazz, rock

Definite Article

The definite article is the word “the”, which is used with nouns in the singular or plural, to show that we are talking about a specific subject (or subjects):

The fish is in the pond. The pens are green. Please, close the door.

The definite article is used in the following cases:

  • Before nouns, when we are talking about a person / thing which is known to our collocutor: Thank you for the CD.
  • Before the names of oceans, rivers, mountains, deserts: Where is the Thames?
  • In front of the names of musical instruments: I play the piano.

Indefinite article

The indefinite article “a” and “an” is used only with nouns in the singular:

  • “A” is used before words that begin with a consonant sound: a bridge, a table, a horse,
  • “An” is used before words that begin with a vowel sound: an egg, an invitation, an umbrella.

Noun with the indefinite article gives an idea of ​​the subject, but we are not talking about a particular subject.

The indefinite article is used in the following cases:

  • Before nouns, when we are speaking about a person / thing, which the collocutor does not know: Could you give me a knife?
  • When we talk about people and their professions: He is a musician.
  • When we talk about the numerals: a dozen.


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