The words a, an, and the are called articles.
Articles are of two types:
- Definite article: The
- Indefinite article: A, An
Indefinite article a and an tell us about any person or thing.
Definite article the tells us about a particular person or thing.
- A copy (any copy)
- Please bring a pen. (any pen)
- The house that we stay in is beautiful. (A particular house)
- The cupboard is next to the door. (A particular cupboard)
As we all know there are 26 letters in all. Out of these a, e, i, o, u are vowels and the rest are called consonants.
A is used before the words that start with a consonant sound.
- A girl
- A chair
- A peacock
- A box
- A violin
An is used before words that start with vowels a, e, i, o, u.
- An apple
- An umbrella
- An orange
- An elephant
- An insect
We also use an before words that begin that begin with a consonant but have a vowel sound.
- An honest man
- An hour
We also use a before words that begin with a vowel but have a consonant sound.
- a one-horned deer
- a university
- a unit
Indefinite articles are used before things that are only one and not more than one. A and An can never be used before things that cannot be counted.
- A boy, A girl, A man, A school, An item – correct
- An umbrellas, A boys, An items, A sugar, A water, A sand – incorrect
Note: Things that cannot be counted do not have an article before them. But if we add some word like a cup of milk. A has been used as a cup is a countable thing.
Definite article the is used before a particular person or thing. The is also used before the names of rivers, seas, oceans, mountains, holy books, newspapers.
- The Taj Mahal
- The Sun
- The Himalayas
Note: No article is used before a proper noun. Bangalore is a beautiful city.