Grammar Usage of Articles – A, An, The
Articles are an integral part of English Grammar and its proper understanding is required for attempting questions like ‘Spotting the Errors’ in the Verbal Aptitude Section of various competitive exams like Banking and SSC, etc. So, let us understand the grammar usage rules for Articles.
Articles are words that define a noun. Like an adjective, they also modify the noun. While adjectives modify nouns through description and articles are used only for pointing out nouns.
TYPES OF ARTICLES
There are two different types of articles used to point out a noun or group of nouns:
I. DEFINITE ARTICLE:
‘The’ is a definite article that can be used before singular and plural, countable and uncountable specific nouns.
Example: The Text Book
II. INDEFINITE ARTICLES:
Indefinite Articles are the words 'A' and 'An'. These articles are used to refer common or non-specific nouns, i.e., not a specific person, place, object, or idea.
Example: An arm and a leg
RULES FOR USING DEFINITE ARTICLE – ‘THE’
1. It can be used with for both singular and plural nouns.
Example: The truck, the trucks
2. It can be used before proper nouns which are particular.
Example: The earth, the stars
3. It can be used before such a noun that has become specific in a phrase or a clause.
Example: The young energetic girl, the red skirt I bought
4. It can be used before superlatives or other adjective making the noun a particular one.
Example: The most strong, the last day, the only option
5. It can be used before a phrase consisting of combination of a common and a proper noun.
Example: The river Ganga, the Congress Party
6. It can be used before the names of the organisations.
Example: The Society for Academic Research
7. It can be used before the names of universities if the name starts with the word “University”, e.g., “The University of Cambridge” and cannot be used with “Cambridge University”.
8. It can never be used for the names of places, cities and countries, e.g., China, America but must be used before the name which refers to a group of states or places, e.g., The People's Republic of China, The United States of America.
RULES FOR USING INDEFINITE ARTICLE – “A/AN”
1. The article “a” is used for countable singular nouns starting with a consonant or a vowel which sounds like consonant.
Example: A truck, a pen, a table, a union
2. The article “an” is used for countable singular nouns starting with a vowel or consonant that sounds like vowel.
Example: An orange, an era, an honour, an Indian
3. Indefinite Article can be used before a countable noun which refers to major group of things.
Example: An orange is rich in Vitamin C.
4. It can be used before a name of some profession.
Example: She wants to become a Scientist or an Astronaut.
5. It can be used before expression of quantities.
Example: A little, a kilo, a quarter, a lot
6. It can be used before expression of numbers.
Example: A billion, a crore, a hundred
7. It can be used before a noun in exclamatory sentences.
Example: What an amazing view! What a great warrior!
8. Indefinite Article cannot be used before uncountable nouns.
Example: Rice, water