English Vinglish: Articles


English tends to boggle your mind with its rules and exception in grammar and vocabulary. This as a very big issue for the students who lack confidence in English. So, to help you out with the small confusing terms and rules, Adda247 is introducing a new trend to clear all your doubts with this post. 5 rules will be published with examples and explanations. Let’s hang together and learn together.

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Coming up to a very interesting topic Articles, knowledge about articles can help you while solving the Error Detection, Sentence Correction/Phrase Replacement, and Cloze Test.
So, What are the articles? They are the words that define the noun as specific or unspecific. We have three articles ‘a, an, the’ that is frequently used in the sentence formation. Thay specify the noun according to the expression of the writer, like what was the idea behind the sentence. Let me be more clear.

For example –
1. After the long journey, the cup of tea was heavenly.
Explanation – Use of the article ‘the’, shows that it was one specific journey that was long and one specific cup of tea that tasted good.

2. After a long journey, a cup of tea would be heavenly.
Explanation – Use of the article ‘a’, shows a general statement, showing that any cup of tea would taste good after any long journey.

3. After an extremely long journey, an exquisite cup of tea would be heavenly.
Explanation – And if we use adjectives the article will change according to the vowels.

As you noticed in the above sentences how the expression changes with different articles. It all depends on, what idea was to be delivered via the sentence. Let’s dig deeper, First the type of article –
‘A’, ‘An’, ‘The’ are the three articles, ‘A’, ‘An’ are called the indefinite articles while ‘The’ is a definite article.

Indefinite Articles – 

It has two forms. ‘A’ is used when word it precedes begins with a consonant. is used when word it precedes begins with a vowel. These indicate that a noun is declaring to a general idea rather than a particular thing. They only appear with singular nouns.

Explanation (Not Sure): If you are talking about some random thing or person, then you use Indefinite Article. ‘A Cat’ means a random cat. Similarly ‘A basket’ means any random basket and no one can be sure which we are talking about.

Definite Article – 

‘The’ is the definite article that tells you about the sentence which is referring to a specific thing that both the reader and writer know about. It limits the meaning of a noun to one particular thing. It can be used with singular, plural, or uncountable nouns.

Explanation (For Sure): For example, your friend might ask, “Are you going to the mall this Friday ?” The definite article tells you that your friend is referring to a specific mall that both of you know about.

Now following up the rules for the articles:


 A student must note that the choice between “A” and “An” is determined primarily by Sound.

A)  A is used before a word beginning.
i) With Consonant. 
For example- A boy, A student
ii) With a vowel giving the sound of a consonant i.e sound of Yu.
For example-a one-eyed man-sound like start with W
a university( sound like starting with Y), a European( y), a unique book, a universal problem, a uniform.

B) An is used before a word beginning.
i) With a vowel i.e. (a,e, i,o,u)
an elephant, an apple, an umbrella sound like (Ambrella)

ii) With a mute ‘H’
an hour- sound like start with A
an heir-
an honest- here ‘H’ is silent

iii)With a consonant pronounced with the sound of a vowel-
an L.L.B- sound like start with A
an M.L.A-
an M.P
an F.I.R

Indefinite Article-
a) Before a singular/countable common noun when it is mentioned for the first time representing no particular person or a thing
For example-
I need a book.
A beggar came to my door.
She gave her a notebook.

b) Before which is used to single out 
For example-
A cow is a useful animal.
A beggar cannot be a chooser.

c)To make a common noun if a proper noun to express quality-
For example-
A shylock is living in my neighborhood
He is a Vikramaditya known for his fairness

d) In certain expressions of quality with a certain number and expression-
Price/rate, speed, ratio
Rupees ten a kilo
A dozen mangoes

e) Before certain phrases-
In a hurry, A pity, Tell a lie, Make a noise

f) There is no plural of ‘a’, ‘an’. Some or Any is equivalent of the plural
A horse- Some horses/ Any horses
An orange- Some oranges/ Any oranges


Use of Definite Article-
a) with (unique objects)- Historic buildings, Mountain ranges, Oceans, Gulfs, Group of islands, Holy books, Descriptive names of countries, Newspaper, Magazines, Superlative Degree.

b) Before an adjective when it represents a class of a person.
For example-
The rich should help the poor.
The old are respected by the young

c) Before the musical instrument
For example-
He can play the flute
She is fond of playing the harmonium

d) In certain idiomatic phrases
In the wrong, On the contrary, In the town, In the air

Rule 3-

The omission of Articles- sometimes the article ‘a’, ‘an’ & ‘the’ are ommitted despite all the rules stated above.
(a) Before a proper noun.
For example- 

Shakespeare was the greatest dramatist.
Jaipur is also known as the pink city.

(b) Before the names of material

For example- 
Oranges from Nagpur are popular all over the world.
Silver is a useful metal.
Gold is preferred in India for the jewelry.

(c)Before abstract nouns as qualities, feelings, and states used in general sense.

For example- 
Man is mortal.
Hard-work always bears sweet fruit.

(d) Before noun complement (elect, select, appoint, make, etc.)
For example- 
The committee appointed me as captain.
They elected him as the supervisor.

(e)Before languages
For example- 
Chinese is a difficult language.
I know how to read and write in Sanskrit.

(f)Before school, colleges, home, work, market, court’ when their purpose is used is of a thought rather than the actual building or place.
For example- 
I go to school on time. (to sleep)
He went to Sea in his early youth. (as a sailor)
We go to temple every day,. (for prayer)

Rule 4-

Before comparative degree in case of a choice
this rule is used when we compare and selection simultaneously
For example-She is the weaker of the two sister
Which is the more beautiful of the two sisters

As an adverb with the comparative sense(Double Comparison)
For example- The higher you go, the colder it is

Rule 5- 

When two or more connected nouns refer to the same person or things, the article should be used before the first noun.
The Prime Minister and the President are visiting the town today-(two different persons holding two different posts)

The (N1) and the (N2)+ Plural Verb
For example-

The Prime minister and President of the party is on a visit to the town today
Here One person holding two posts.

You may also like to read:
English Vinglish: Pronoun
English Vinglish: Noun