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Articles in Grammar: Useful Rules, List & Examples

What Is An Article?

What Is An Article in English? A An The

In English grammar, there are two different types of article, the definite article and the indefinite article. In the most simple terms an article is a way of letting the listener or speaker know that a noun is either unspecific or specific. The words which are used as articles are the, an and a.

Let’s take a look at some examples to clarify the meaning of an article.

  • During the long journey, the family played car games.

You can see that when we use the article ‘the’ that we are showing that we are talking about a specific day and also a specific family. However, if we change the article, we can show that we are not talking about a specific journey or family. Take a look at the example now:

  • During a long journey, a family can play car games.

Simply by changing the article, we have made the sentence a more general statement and not about a specific thing or person.

Quick note: 

  • Articles are small but important words in the English language.
  • Articles are considered adjectives because they modify or help describe nouns.
  • Articles always come before or precede the nouns they describe.

There are only three articles in English: a, an and the.

There are two types of articles indefinite ‘a’ and ‘an or definite ‘the’. You also need to know when not to use an article.

In many languages, articles are a special part of speech that cannot be easily combined with other #top" data-lasso-id="1995">parts of speech.

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Different Types Of Article

As we mentioned, in English there are two different types of article, the definite article and the indefinite article. They are each used for their own purpose and we are now going to take a look at these in a little more depth.

Definite Article

The best way to remember what a definite article is, is to remember that the word ‘the’ is the definite article. As we have briefly seen in our earlier examples, the word the can be used to demonstrate that the speaker is referring to something specific and not talking in a general sense.

When using a definite article, it can be combined with either a plural, a singular or an uncountable noun. We are now going to take a look at some examples of the definite article being used within a sentence.

  • Please show me the photo.
  • Can I see the blue dress, I do not like the red one.
  • Are we going to watch the football game?
  • I need the long wire, it is the only wire which will reach the plug socket.

Indefinite Article

When we are talking about the indefinite article, we are referring to the words ‘a’ and ‘an’ and depending on which word they are referring to, will depend on which one you use.

  • If the noun begins with a vowel, you should use ‘an.’
  • If the nouns begins with a consonant, you should use ‘a.’

We use the indefinite article as a way of demonstrating that we are not referring to a specific item or person but rather talking a more general sense. Let’s take a look at some examples of the indefinite article being used within a sentence.

  • I need to read a book, do you have a good one?
  • I am going to watch a movie, I am not sure which one.
  • There is an animal in the garden.
  • Sally has an invention she is working on.

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Spoken English MasterLast Seen: Mar 8, 2023 @ 7:00pm 19MarUTC

Spoken English Master


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