Articles

Subject: English

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Overview

The word a, an and the are called articles. Articles are actually demonstrative adjectives and are used to point out people or things. This note has information about articles.
Articles

The word a, an and the are called articles. Articles are actually demonstrative adjectives and are used to point out people or things. So they are used before nouns.

  • A and an are in defined articles while the is the definite article.

A/an

  1. We use 'a' and 'an' before countable in the singular number:
    a book; a chair; a tree
    an apple; an ant; an island

  2. We use a before the countable noun in the singular number beginning with a consonant sound:
    a banana; a lake; a song
    We use an before a countable in the singular number beginning with a vowel sound:
    an egg; an orange; an apple
    If the word begins with a vowel but not a vowel sound, we use a before it:
    a university; a European; a one rupee note

  3. If some words begin with silent h, they also take an with them:
    an honest boy; an honorable person; an heir; an hour

  4. In abbreviations, if consonants begin with a vowel sound, they take an with them.
    an M.A ; an M.D
    a Ph.D. ; a B.A.

Use of 'a' in the following phrases

to be in a hurry; to have a headache;a pity

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in a loud voice; in a low voice; a shame

a bad cloud; a noise; a pleasure

The

We use the

  • before any noun when we want to make it particular: Let us walk towards the front gate. (not any gate but the front gate)
  • with superlatives: the sweetest song, the most intelligent student
  • with such words as 'first', 'last', 'next', 'only', 'same', 'following', 'previous': the last bench, the only son, the next house

But the is not used with such expressions as: last night/ week/ month/ year; next week/ month / year

What did you eat last night?

Will you come here next Sunday?

  • with a common noun when that noun represents the whole class: The dog is a faithful animal; Elephants have a remarkable memory.
  • with such nouns as 'earth', 'moon', 'sun', 'sky', etc.
  • with the name of rivers, seas, ocean, mountain range, holy books, train, ship, aeroplane, newspaper, well-known buildings,countries if the name contains a common noun, the directions, the whole families.

The omission of 'the'

  • Normally we do not use the with proper nouns, abstract nouns and such nouns as gold, silver, water, wood, etc., which name materials: Nepal is a secular country;Beauty is admired by all. But when we use these nouns as a particular ones, we have to use the with them: The Nepal of the 21st century is going to be a glorious country. The beauty of Cleopatra is famous all over the world.
  • We do not use the with these phrases:
    to take place; to take part in; to take care of; on foot; by train
    to take interest in ; to take heart; to be at fault; at home; by bus
    to make use of; to lose heart; out of doors; by mistake; by chance
Things to remember
  • The word a, an and the are called articles.
  • Articles are actually demonstrative adjectives and are used to point out people or things.
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
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