Table of Contents

1. What is an Article?

In English A, An and The are known as articles.

2. Kinds of Articles

Articles are of two kinds.

Definite article

The‘ is known as the definite article in English grammar.

Indefinite article

A‘ and ‘An‘ are known as indefinite articles in English grammar.

3. Use of ‘A’

Before an unknown person’s name

‘a’ is used before a person’s name when the person is unknown to the speaker.

  • Yesterday, a Rahul was calling you.
  • There was an Ajay by your side.
  • A Mrs. Sen has died in the accident.

Before the names of special meals/celebration

‘a’ is used before the names of special meals used to celebrate anyone’s success, or in the honour of anyone.

  • I invited my friends to my house for a lunch to celebrate my success.
  • They threw a tea party last Sunday.

To compare someone’s skill to any other one

‘a’ or ‘the’ is used before a person’s name when a particular skill or quality of that person is compared to anybody else

  • He is a Harishchandra. But, He is the Harishchandra of our class.

Before a verb when it is used as a Noun

‘a’ is used before a verb when it is used as a noun

  • Everyday I take a walk in the morning.

Before some phrases like ‘a number of’, etc.

‘a number of’, ‘a good deal of’, ‘a great deal of’, ‘a bunch of’, ‘a group of’, ‘a majority of’ etc.
  • They couldn’t have succeeded without a good deal of luck.
  • She spent a good deal of time on the project.
  • A great deal of research has been done already
  • A majority of the students are expected to vote in the class election.

Remember! <a number of> takes a plural verb, whereas, <the number of> takes a singular verb. e.g.,

  • A number of people were present there.
  • The number of people was not less than one hundred.

Before a singular countable noun in exclamatory sentences

‘a’ is used before a singular countable noun in exclamatory sentences

  • What a thing to say!
  • How a beautiful baby it is!

To represent the number ‘one’ (determiner)

  • There were three men and a woman in the shop.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Used in measurement

‘a’ is used between a fraction and a unit of measurement

  • Yet half a mile to go.
  • A quarter of a kilo of potatoes was rotten.
  • It took three-quarters of an hour to write the answer.
  • Six-tenths of a second was his taken time for the record.

To represent frequency of some actions

  • The doctor advised me to take one tablet two times a day.
  • I visit her once a fortnight.

To represent earnings or costs in a certain period of time

  • I earn Rs. 30,000 a month.
  • I pay Rs 5,000 a month for the room.
  • The authority charges Rs 100 a ride.

4. Omission of ‘a/an’

Should not be used with the names of meals

a/an’ should not be used with the names of meals

  • We had lunch at noon.

Should not be used with the words like ‘school’, etc.

school, prison, hospital, market or college
  • I hope to go to college.
  • He spent three years in prison.
  • My brother is in hospital (UK style) / in the hospital (US style).

Should not be used with plural or uncountable words

  • I asked her for advice.
  • There were trees.

5. Use of ‘the’

Before any definite object

‘The’ is used before any definite object which becomes definite due to second preference

  • Yesterday I bought a pen. The pen is black.

Before the names of rivers, oceans, mountains and deserts

  • The Ganges.
  • The Himalayas.
  • The Sahara.

Remember! ‘The’ is used with mountains but not with a single mountain, single peak or single island. e.g., Everest, Java

With the names of invention

‘the’ is used with the names of invention

  • The television is a gift of science

With the names of newspapers

‘the’ is used with the names of newspapers

  • Have you seen the Daily Telegraph today?

With the names of religious books

‘the’ is used with the names of religious books

  • The Mahabharata.
  • The Ramayana.
  • The Bible.
  • The Quran.

With the names of religious groups

‘the’ is used with the names of religious groups

  • The Hindu.
  • The Muslims.

With the names of musical instrument

‘the’ is used with the names of musical instruments

  • The tabla.
  • The sitar.
  • The harmoniyam.

With the names of political parties

‘the’ is used with the names of political parties

  • The BJP.
  • The Labours Party.
  • The BNP.

With the names of law enforcing bodies

‘the’ is used with the names of law enforcing bodies

  • The police.
  • The Supreme Court.

With the names of aeroplanes, ships, etc.

aeroplanes, ships, trains, rockets, satellites, etc.
  • The airbus 70.
  • The Vikrant.
  • The Rajdhani.

With the names of unique universal entity

‘the’ is used with the names of unique universal entity

  • The sun.
  • The Mars.
  • The Earth.
  • The Moon.

With the names of famous monuments and seven wonders

‘the’ is used with the names of famous monuments and seven wonders

  • The Taj Mahal.

With the names of federals

‘the’ is used with the names of federal

  • The UK.
  • The USA.

With the names of clubs and associations

‘the’ is used with the names of clubs and associations

  • The Barcelona.
  • The PSG.
  • The Real Madrid.
  • The Theatre.

With the designations and titles

‘the’ is used with the designations and titles

  • The President.
  • The Knight.
  • The Bharat Ratna.

With superlative degree

‘the’ is used with a superlative degree

  • He is the best boy.

With ordinal numbers

‘the’ is used with ordinal numbers

  • The first.
  • The second.

With adjectives in a special case

‘the’ is used with adjectives when it is taken as a plural common noun

  • The rich.
  • The poor.

To make thing obvious

‘the’ is used when it is obvious which thing we are talking about

  • Could you shut the door, please?
  • I cleaned the bathroom this morning.

6. Omission of ‘the’

Should not be used with days and dates

‘the’ should not be used with days and dates

  • Sunday, Monday.

Should not be used with the names of games and sports

  • Football, Cricket, Hockey, Swimming, etc.

Should not be used with the names of diseases

  • Cancer, TB, etc.

Remember! The measles. The gout, The mumps, The Plague are correct, these are exceptions.

Should not be used with some nouns used with verbs like, ‘elect’, etc.

elect, select, make, appoint, etc.
  • We elected him president.

Should not be used with the phrases ‘the title of’ and ‘the post of’.

  • He was promoted to the post of (or rank of) chairman.
  • He was given the title of Rai Bahadur.