USE OF ARTICLES - 1
To enable the learners to identify some of the common errors pertaining to the use of the articles in
A, An and The are articles. Articles A and An are considered to be indefinite articles as they do not imply
anything in particular. Definite article The always refer to specific and definite things.
The Use of A and An:
"A" and "an" mean singular or only one in general.
1. There is a boy on the road. (I do not know who the boy is)
2. I want to buy an apple. (one apple which is not specific/any apple in a group)
An historical event is worth recording.
Sometimes adjectives modify nouns. In such cases, the use of A or AN depends on the intial sound of the
word. If a word begins with a vowel sound, article AN will be used. If it begins with a consonant sound, the
article a will be used.
• a one-eyed man
• an unexpected situation
• a University
The Use of Definite Article:
Definite article THE implies something definite and specific objects or a persons. It is used both for singular
and plural nouns.
1. The boy who sang yesterday was my nephew. (Here it is a specific boy.)
2. The rose which she plucked in my garden was beautiful (Here it is not a general rose but a definite
The use of Countable and Uncountable Nouns:
1. They used to play on the sand in their childhood.
2. They are fond of sand in the beach near their house.
3. The oil that Mary uses to cook food is very less.
4. Mary uses more oil than necessary.
The use of A and AN with count nouns:
1. I had a mug of beer.
2. She wants an iron sheet.
3. They play a wonderful match.
4. I had a glass of mango juice.
Other Common Uses of the Definite Article:
Use of THE:
1. The should be used before the names of the mountain ranges and chains of Islands. For instance:
1. The Himalayas. 2. The Canary Islands.
2. Before names of the musical instruments:
1. The flute. 2. The piano.
3. Before the names of lakes, oceans and seas…
1. The Ganges. 2.the Pacific 3. The Red sea
4. Before names of the deserts and directions of the globe…
1. the sahara desert 2. the north pole 3. The equator
5. Before geographical areas…
1. The north 2. The Middle East
Do not use THE Before:
• 1. before proper names specific names of the people places and streets. (John, America, Wall
• 2. Before names of sports (Basket ball, Chess)
• 3. Before the names of academic subjects (Phonetics, Economics)
• 4. Before names of the languages and nationalities. (English, Chinese)