Articles*

Articles Determiner & Quantifiers

April 4, 2019

Native English Instructor

Written by Douglas Shaw

Articles are words that define a noun as specific or unspecific.

e.g.

  • After the long day, the glass of water tasted quite refreshing.

By using the article the, we’ve shown that it was one specific day that was long and one specific glass of water that tasted quite refreshing.

  • After a long day, a glass of water tastes quite refreshing.

By using the article a, we’ve created a general statement, expressing that any glass of water would taste refreshing after any long day.

 

 English has two types of articles- Definite and Indefinite. 

E.g.

  • Please give me the eraser.
  • Please hand me a book; any book will do.

Let’s look at them in more detail.

Definite article: The

 It limits the meaning of a noun to one particular thing. For example, your friend might ask, “Are you going to the concert this weekend?” The definite article tells you that your friend is referring to a specific concert that both of you know about.

The definite article can be used with singular, plural, or uncountable nouns. 

  • Please give me the eraser.
  • Please give me the green marker..
  • Please give me the blue marker; the green marker is dry.

Indefinite article: a

The indefinite article takes two forms. 

Using a before a word that begins with a consonant.

e.g. 

  • Please hand me a book; any book will do.

Using an before a word that begins with a vowel.

e.g.

  • Please hand me an envelope.

Exceptions to the rule:

There are a few exceptions to the general rule of using a before words that start with consonants and an before words that begin with vowels.

e.g.

Let’s look at the word “honor”, the first letter is a consonant but it is not pronounced. In spite of it’s spelling, the word honor begins with a vowel sound. Therefore, we use an.

e.g.

Incorrect:

  • My mother is a honest woman.

Correct:

  • My mother is an honest woman.
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