BCS Preparation

The rules of Articles and example of article


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Uses of articles with examples

What is the article of in english grammar?

We already know that when speaking about singular indefinite countable nouns, we use the articles “a” and “an”. 

The rules of Articles and example of article
The rules of Articles and example of article

We use “a” before nouns or adjectives that begin with a consonant. 

We use “an” before nouns or adjectives that begin with a vowel.


I am a person. [one of many people]

She is a good doctor. [one of many good doctors]

That is an airplane. [one of many airplanes]

I use a computer to write. [one of many computers]

He works in an office.  [one of many offices]

He lives in a big house. [one of many big houses]

Now let us look at the following rules of using “a”, “an” and “the”.

The rules of Articles and example of article

Rule 1: When speaking about jobs, we normally use “a” and “an”:

What is your father?He is a businessman.one of many businessmen
What does your sister do?She is a teacher.one of many teachers
What is your uncle?He is the king.There is only one king!
The rules of Articles

Rule 2: When identifying something as part of a group, we use “a” and “an”:

What is that?

It is a horse.

What kind of horse is it?

It is a race horse. 

What is a table?

A table is a piece of furniture.

Rule 3: When speaking about plural indefinite countable nouns, we use no articles:

We are people.

They are good doctors.

Those are airplanes.

I use computers to write.

They work in offices. 

They live in big houses.

What are they?

They are businessmen.

What are those?

They are horses.

What kind of horses are they?

They are race horses.

Rule 4: We usually use “a” before words that begin with “h”:

a history

a huge monster

a heavenly dessert

a house

But there are some exceptions. If the “h” is not pronounced, we use “an”:

an hour

an heir

an honor

an honest man

Rule 5: We never use “a” or “an” with uncountable nouns. 

Rule 6: When speaking about definite or particular things, we use the article “the”:

That is the sun.
That is the moon.
That is the fastest airplane.
The sky is blue.
She is the doctor.
He works in the main office.
The stars are beautiful.
The sun is unique.There is only one moon.There is only one fastest airplane.
There is only one sky.She is a particular doctor.
He works in a particular office.
There is only one group of stars.
The rules of Articles and example of article

The rings on your fingers are of gold and silver.

(a particular group of rings)

The students in my class are lazy.

(a particular group of students).

The books on the table are his. 

(a particular group of books)

Rule 7: At first we use “a” and “an”, then when something is identified, we use “the”:

What is that?

It is a horse.

What kind of horse is it?

It is a race horse.

Which racehorse is it?

It is the race horse that loses all races. 

Is it a slow race horse?

It is the slowest race horse in the world.

What is that?

It is a building.

What building is it?

It is the Police Department.

Is that the hospital?

No, it is an apartment building. 

Is it the apartment building where Tony lives?

No, it is the apartment building where Karen lives.

Rule 8: To define nouns, we use “the”, “a”, “an”, or another determiner:

Some other determiners:

my, your, his, her, its, our, John’s, Mary’s, their this, that, these, those, any, some, most, both, all, many, much, no, other, enough, several, one, two, seven, few, which, what

When we use other determiners, we do not use “the”, “a” or “an”:

Is that your car? 

Both books are mine.

Many people eat in this restaurant

I have no money.

These cards are marked!

Do you play any instruments?

Few dogs are vegetarian.

There is some dirt on the table.

Rule 9: All nouns have determiners, except:

Proper nouns:

Proper nouns are particular names for things. Proper nouns don’t need determiners because they are already unique. Proper nouns always begin with capital letters. Proper nouns are:

Names and titles: I, Daddy, Mary Smith, Joao Gilberto, Mitsuhiro Tanaka, Uncle Carlos, Ms. Chiang. Doctor Livingston. President Washington, King Arthur.

Names of groups: Yale University, Sony corporation, Volksvagen, Greenpeace.

Countries, specific geographical locations: Japan, Seoul, Mount Everest, Europe, Asia, Buenos Aires, Main Street.

Nationalities, languages, regions, philosophies: American, Korean, Japanese, Buddhism, Christianity, Materialism, Pacifism.

Time periods: 7:00, Friday, September, New Year’s Day, 1963.

Rule 10: We use “the” to define which one of a group:

There are many presidents, which president is he? 

He is the President of France. President Miterrand. 

Which United states?

The United States of America.

Which university do you study at? 

I study at the University of California.

Which river is very big?

The Amazon River is very big.

Which ocean is Japan in? 

It is in the Pacific.

What day is your birthday? 

My birthday is the 15th (day) of September.

Rule 11: When speaking about things in general, we use Plural nouns. We do not use “the”, “a” or “an”:

Computers are made of plastic and electronics. 

Trucks transport merchandise.

Birds fly: dogs don’t.

English people speak English; French people speak French. 

Americans are all rich.

Sharks are dangerous.

What are little boys made of? 

Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails.

That’s what little boys are made of. 

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and Spice and everything nice. 

That’s what little girls are made of.

Contrasting articles:

There is a boy on a bicycle.

I know the boy with black hair.

Boys are young men.

I have a television.

The television in my house is broken. Televisions are very common today.

This is the key.

This is the key to my car. 

Keys are for opening locks.

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