What is an article?
An article is an adjective or a determiner. Like adjectives, articles modify nouns. Learning of uses of articles is very necessary.
There are two types of articles in English. Definite article and indefinite article.
Uses of Articles
Articles are used before nouns.
Articles: Definite(the ) and indefinite(a/an)
Definite article ‘The’ is used to refer to specific or particular nouns; indefinite article a/an is used to modify non-specific or non-particular nouns.
the = definite article
a/an = indefinite article
Observe the following sentences and learn the uses of Articles.
1. We celebrate our Independence Day on the fifteenth of August.
2. The highest range of mountains in the world is the Himalayas.
3. The Taj Mahal attracts a lot of tourists every year.
4. The Ganga is a holy river but it is not in Maharashtra.
5. The distance from the sun to the earth is 149.6 million kilometers.
6. Yesterday I saw a European riding an elephant.
7. Driving a boat is not the same as driving a car.
8. The Women’s Organisation raised the same problem.
9.The rich should help the poor.
10.The sun sets in the west.
11. He goes to church for offering prayers.
12. My mother has gone to a hospital to visit a sick relative.
13. I feel tired as I went a bed late last night.
14. I went to a church to see the carvings.
15. A stranger went to the School to complain about the behavior of one of the pupils.
16. He was found guilty of theft and sent to Prison for six months.
17. If you are seriously ill, you will have to go hospital.
Lets study Articles: Definite and indefinite
Look at the following words with indefinite article ‘a’.
Indefinite article ‘a’ is used before nouns. Nouns are arranged alphabetically to get the idea about the use of articles.
a boy a cat a dirty place a fish a goat a hill a jug a kettle a lion a mango a nest a pancake a quill a river a story a tablet a van a watch a yacht a zebra
a university a uniform a union
Look at the following words with indefinite articles ‘an’.
|an apple||an M.P.|
|an elephant||an honest man|
|an inkpot||an honourable man|
|an orange||an M.B. A. degree|
|an umbrella||an heir|
The words show that a singular common countable noun takes indefinite article 'a' or 'an' . Those beginning with consonant sound (not letter) take 'a' before them. Those beginning with vowel sound (not letter) take 'an' before them.
Articles: Definite and indefinite
Observe the use of definite article ‘the’ in the following extract.
The United Kingdom is an island surrounded by the English Channel, the Atlantic, the Irish Sea and the North Sea. It is made up of four regions: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and although London is the capital of whole country, each region has its own capital city (London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast). The best-known rivers are: the Thames, the Severn, the Humber and the Mersey. The highest mountains in the United Kingdom are found in Scotland (the Grampians) and The North Wales (the Cambrian Mountains), while England’s major range is called the pennies. English is spoken everywhere in Britain.
Remember the following 6 tips for the use of definite article
It shows that definite article ‘the’ is used before
1) names of unique things e.g. the sun, the moon, the earth, the sky, the Tajmahal
2) names (proper noun) of ocean, river, island, mountain ranges,historical monuments and holy books e. g. the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Ganga, the Tapi,the Kauvery, the Andman and Nikobar, the Himalayas, the Sahyadris, the Alps, the Rocky, the Red Fort, the Tajmahal, the Bhagwad Geeta, the Quran, the Bible
3) names of musical instruments e.g the guitar, the flute, the sitar, the sarangi
4) before ordinal numbers, superlative adjectives e. g. the first, the second, the fifth, the twelfth, the best, the most beautiful, the tallest
5) before the nouns which is referred earlier: ‘a’ or ‘an’ is used when we refer it for the first time but later on for the same noun we use ‘the’ before it.
e.g. I bought a book. The book had some missing pages.
6) before the adjective that perform the function of noun e.g. The young should come forward to shoulder the responsibility. The rich should help the poor.
More Examples of Definite Article
- The sun is shining brightly today.
- The moon will rise at sunset tonight.
- The wind is blowing from the east.
- The children are playing in the park.
- The cat is sleeping on the couch.
- The mountains in the distance look beautiful.
- The book on the shelf is my favorite novel.
- The flowers in the garden are blooming.
- The dog is barking at the mailman.
- The movie theater on the corner is showing a new film.
Insert the article a, an,or the ( definite article or indefinite article )where necessary. Choose x where no article is used.
1) I like …. blue T-shirt over there better than …. red one.
2) Their car runs 150 miles … hour.
3) Where’s … USB drive I lent you last week?
4) Do you still live in ……Bristol?
5) Is your mother working in ……. old office building?
6) Carol’s father works as …….electrician.
7) The tomatoes are 99 pence …… kilo.
8) What do you usually have for …… breakfast?
9) Ben has ….. terrible headache.
10) After this tour you have ……. whole afternoon free to explore ……. city.
1) I like the blue T-shirt over there better than the red one.
2) Their car runs 150 miles an hour.
3) Where’s the USB drive I lent you last week?
4) Do you still live in x Bristol?
5) Is your mother working in an old office building?
6) Carol’s father works as an electrician.
7) The tomatoes are 99 pence a kilo.
8) What do you usually have for x breakfast?
9) Ben has a terrible headache.
10) After this tour you have the whole afternoon free to explore the city.
Exercise on Articles: Definite and indefinite
Fill in the correct article (A , AN or THE) where necessary – or leave blank !
1. _______ moon goes round _______ earth every 27 days.
2. The Soviet Union was _______ first country to send a man into _____ space.
3. Did you see the film on _______ television or at _______ cinema?
4. I’m not very hungry, I had _______ big breakfast.
5. I never listen to _____. radio. In fact, I haven’t got _______ radio.
6. What is _______ highest mountain in _______ world?
7. It was a long voyage. We were at _______ sea for four weeks.
8. Look at _______ apples on that tree. They’re very large.
9. _______ women are often better teachers than _______ men.
10. In Britain _______ coffee is more expensive than _______ tea.
11. We had a very nice meal. _______ cheese was especially good.
12. They got married but _______ marriage wasn’t very successful.
13. I know someone who wrote a book about _______ life of Gandhi.
14. _______ life would be very difficult without _______ electricity.
15. _______ Second World War ended in 1945.
16. Do you know _______ people who live next door?
17. Are you interested in _______ art or _______ architecture?
18. Don’t stay in that hotel. _______ beds are very uncomfortable.
19. I hate _______ violence.
20. John himself doesn’t go to _______ church.
21. After _______ work Ann usually goes home.
22. When Ann was ill, we went to _______ hospital to visit her.
23. _______ British Prime Minister lives in _______ Downing Street 10.
24. _______ Tate Gallery is the main modern art museum in London.
25. Have you ever visited _______ Tower of London?
26. Do you know _______ time? Yes, _______ clock in _______ hall has just struck nine.
27. I am on _______ night duty. When you go to _______ bed, I go to _______ work.
28. There will always be a conflict between _______ old and _______ young. _______ young people want
_______ change but old people want _______ things to stay _______ same.
29. In the past _______ most young boys became a farmer or got another job in their village.
30. _______ city life is very noisy, hectic and dirty.
31. The waste gases of cars and factories are the primary reasons for _______ air pollution.
32. People only have parks, where they can enjoy _______ nature.
33. At the beginning I spoke about _______ tourism in _______ towns.
34. It’s right that there aren’t so many ways of spending _______ daily life in _______ suburbs.
35. But is it still true that the countryside is praised to be _______ best place for living.
36. But when you live in _______ solitude you are not always happy
Fill in blanks with a, an or the.
i. My effort was over and I collapsed almost unconscious, with –––– (1)
arm on either side of me. It was only then that real pain overtook me. I
felt like –––– (2) exploded flashlight with no will to live; I just went on
existing in –––– (3) most passive physical state without being quite
ii. It was –––– (4) capital idea of mine. But I haven’t –––– (5) instant to
lose. First of all, let me put Mr. Cox’s things out of Mr. Box’s way. Now
then, to put –––– (6) key where Mr. Cox always finds it.
iii. You must cross –––– (7) Atlantic to go to –––– (8) U.S.A.
iv. Lynda is _ (9) Australian, but her husband is _ (10) European.