Articles a, an, the uses

‘A’, ‘An’, ‘The’ are called Articles.

‘A’ and ‘An are called Indefinite Articles while ‘The’ is called Definite Article.

Articles a an the uses

  • A/An are used before singular countable nouns when they are indefinite and introduced for the first time.
1. This is chair.

This is a chair.

2. Sita sang song.

Sita sang a song.

3. This is umbrella

This is an umbrella?

Where are articles used?

She is _____ excellent. (Here no article will be used because there is no noun after excellent. An article needs a noun in absence of which, we cannot use any article,

(Example): She is an excellent student.

(Example): She is a student.

  • If an adjective qualifies the noun, the ‘articles’ comes before the ‘adjective’.

(Example): She is an excellent student.

  • If an ‘adverb’ qualifies the ‘adjective’  qualifying ‘noun’, the ‘article’ comes before the ‘adverb’.

(Example): She is a very excellent student.

Use of articles with adjectives

Article a an the uses

Proper Use of Indefinite Articles A, An 

A/an are used before indefinite singular countable nouns.

(Example):

  1. I have a car
  2. This is an orange
  3. He sang a song.
  4. Ram is a student.
  • An is used only before vowel sounds. Remember ‘a,e,i,o,u’  do not necessarily produce vowel sound.
  • If the word starts not with vowel sound but with consonant sound, article ‘A’ is used 

(Example): An umbrella, A university, A union, A ewe, A one rupee note, An honest man

In abbreviation too take care of the pronunciation.

  1. He is an MLA/MP 
  2. He lodged an FIR.
  3. He is an IAS officer.
  4. I have an e-ray machine.
  5. I have been waiting for an hour.
  6. He is an SDO.
  7. She is an LLB.
  8. He is an heir to the throne. 

Other Examples:

  1. An hour
  2. An honour
  3. An honourable person.
  4. An honest man
  5. An heir.
  6. A house
  7. An honorarium.
  8. A historical monument
  9. A young man.
  10. A ewe.
  11. An eagle.
  12. A European.
  13. A university.
  14. A unit.
  15. A union
  16. An Umbrella
  17. A unique planet
  18. A useful book
  19. A year
  20. A one-rupee note.
  21. A one-eyed man.
  22. An orange
  23. An F.O.
  24. A forest officer.
  25. An M.P
  26. A Member of Parliament.
  • A/An is used before singular countable nouns which means that can be counted.

(Example):

  1. I have a pen.
  2. She has a car.
  3. Ram has an umbrella.
  4. She is a housewife.

Note: Noise is an uncountable noun, yet it takes ‘a’ before it.

(Example): Do not make a noise.

  • In exclamatory sentences, A/An us used after ‘what’ and ‘how’ and before the singular countable noun that comes in the sentence.

(Example):

  1. What a grand building!
  2. What a pretty girl!
  • In place of ‘per’, a/an is used.

(Example):

  1. This car runs twenty kilometres a litre.
  2. I earn ten thousand a month.
  3. This train runs 27 kilometres an hour.
  • With a few words that denote the number of countable nouns such as

‘hundred’, ‘thousand’, million,’ dozen, ‘couple’ etc. ‘a’ is used

(Example):

  1. A dozen of bananas.
  2. I have a hundred pens. 
  • ‘A’ is used before fractions and half/fractions.

(Example):

  1. 2¼ – two and a quarter metre.
  2. 3½ – Three and a half metre.
  3. She has to run half a mile everyday.
  • When a verb is used as a noun, it takes article ‘A/An’ before it.

(Example):

  1. He goes for a walk daily.
  2. He has gone for a ride.
  3. I had a talk with them.
  • If many/rather/quite/such takes a singular noun after them, ‘A/An is used before the noun.

(Example):

  1. Many a citizen would welcome such a reform.
  2. It is rather a pity.
  3. It was quite an impossible task.
  4. It was such a foolish decision. 

In a few phrases, A/An are used. Some of these phrases are:

In a fix, in a hurry, in a nutshell, make a noise, make a foot, keep a secret, as a rule, at a stone’s throw, a short while ago, at a loss, take a fancy to, take an interest in, take a liking, a pity, tell a lie.

(Example):

  1. Never tell a lie.
  2. Do not make a noise.
  3. Twelve inches make a foot.

In a few phrases, A/An are not used. Some of these phrases are:

To lose heart, to set foot, to give ear, at home, last but not least, to catch fire, is hand, set on fire, by car/bus etc, at last, by mistake, in danger, to take heart.

(Example):

  1. I am at home.
  2. The house was set on fire.
  3. I go to college by bus.

Where do we omit A, An

It should not be used with a plural noun.

(Example):

  1. A boys have come. (Wrong) remove ‘a’ 
  2. Boys have come (Right)
  3. The boys have come(Right)
  • A/An is not used with uncountable noun.

Use of articles with noun

Advice, Accommodation, Baggage, Luggage, News, permission, progress, scenery, weather, Traffic, Knowledge, Music, Wine, Equipment, Information, Poetry, Furniture, Hair, Business, Mischief, Bread, Stationery, Crockery, Postage, Wastage, Money, Jewellery, Breakage, Work, Evidence.

(Example):

  1. He gave me an advice (remove ‘an’)
  2. I will buy a furniture today. (remove ‘a’)

Note: A few words are used before certain uncountable nouns to make them countable.

(Example):

  1. I have a piece of information for you.
  2.  I had a slice of bread.
  3.  He gave me a piece of work to do.

Articles are not used before nouns in sentences, starting with ‘what kind of’,’ what sort of’, ‘what type of and ‘what variety of’.

(Example):

  1. What sort of a man he is  (wrong)
  2. What sort of man he is (Right)

Use of Definite Article The

‘The’ is used before definite nouns towards which we can point out; the noun that we can visualize or that has already been introduced. ‘The’ is hence called Definite article.

(Example):

  1. Once upon a time, there lived a king. The king was very kind. One day, he met an old man. The old man was very poor.  (In the first sentence, ‘a king’ is introduced. In the second sentence, we have become familiar with the characters ‘king’ and hence ‘the’ come before ‘king’. and in the third sentence ‘an old man’ is introduced and in the fourth sentence after we have become familiar with the characters ‘old man’, ‘the’ comes before ‘old man’.)
  2. The man in white shirt is my brother.
  3. The boy standing near the gate is my brother. In the above sentence, ‘The’ is used to be specific about the noun we are talking about.

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