Articles

Using Articles Correctly

Introduction

Fill in the gaps with the necessary words

Can you complete this story with the correct words?

Once there was  king.  king lived in huge castle.  king had  enemy.  enemy was  dragon.

The words that you have used to complete the text are known as 'Articles' in the English Language.

In this lesson, we will explore three very small but important words in the English language: the articles a, an and the. These are words that you use in almost every sentence that you speak or write. Learn about the significance of articles, when to use them and some examples.

Definition of Articles

An article is a word used to modify a noun, which is a person, place, object, or idea. Technically, an article is an adjective, which is any word that modifies a noun. Usually adjectives modify nouns through description, but articles are used instead to point out or refer to nouns. There are two different types of articles that we use in writing and conversation to point out or refer to a noun or group of nouns: definite and indefinite articles. 

Indefinite Articles

A & AN

  • Use the article a or an to indicate any non-specified member of a group or category.

I think an animal is in the garage
That man is a scoundrel.
We are looking for an apartment.

When to use 'a'

The article A is used before singular, countable nouns which begin with consonant sounds.

Examples:

  • He is a teacher.
  • She doesn't own a car.
  • I saw a bear at the zoo.

 

When to use 'an'

The article AN is used before singular, countable nouns which begin with vowel sounds.

Examples:

  • He is an actor.
  • She didn't get an invitation.
  • I saw an eagle at the zoo.

Choose the correct article

  • a
  • an
  • an
  • a
  • a

Definite Article - THE

When to use 'the'

The definite article the is the most frequent word in English.

We use the definite article in front of a noun when we believe the hearer/reader knows exactly what we are referring to.

Unlike the indefinite articles, we use'the' when we have already mentioned something:

A woman who fell 10 metres from High Peak was lifted to safety by a helicopter. The woman fell while climbing.


The rescue is the latest in a series of incidents on High Peak. In January last year two men walking on the peak were killed in a fall. 

We also use the definite article:

• to say something about all the things referred to by a noun:

The wolf is not really a dangerous animal (= Wolves are not really dangerous animals)
The kangaroo is found only in Australia (= Kangaroos are found only in Australia)
The heart pumps blood around the body. (= Hearts pump blood around bodies)

Some Exceptions to the rule

Select the wrongly used article

Recap

Complete the passage using the correct article

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen "A. P. J." Abdul Kalam 15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015) was 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. career scientist turned politician, Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, and studied physics and aerospace engineering. He spent next four decades as scientist and science administrator, mainly at Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India's civilian space program and military missile development efforts. He thus came to be known as Missile Man of India for his work on development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played pivotal organizational, technical, and political role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in the 1998, first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.

Assessment

To check your understanding of this topic, please click the relevant link in the email to attempt the assessment.