What Are Articles?
Words that are used as modifiers for nouns to define them are called articles.
Articles are mostly necessary, but sometimes they cannot be used as modifiers, which is called a case of zero articles.
Why Do We Use Articles?
Articles are used to define particular or non-specific nouns. So, we need them to make ourselves clear. Actually, using different articles for the same noun makes the sentences mean differently.
Here we mean the doctor that we mentioned before and we want to refer to what we meant.
In this example, we mean her job is being a doctor like other doctors.
Types of Articles
Based on whether an article is used to define a specific noun or not, they are categorized into two groups:
Here are a few examples:
The term 'the' is used as the definite article. It modifies nouns that are specific; by specific, we do not mean that the noun is a proper noun, we mean it is known by the listener and the speaker.
Usually, we use the definite article when we mentioned the noun in advance. Here are the examples:
I saw a man at the station;
Indefinite articles are used with non-specific nouns. Usually, we use indefinite articles to refer to a noun randomly or for the first time. Indefinite articles in English are 'a' and 'an.' For example:
I need to buy
What Is the Difference between 'an' and 'a'?
With nouns that start with a vowel sound, we have to use the indefinite article 'an.' if the sound of the first letter of the following noun is not a vowel, then you can use the indefinite article 'a.' Here are the examples:
I cannot find
In this example, 'e' has a vowel sound and the sound is /e/.
The sound of the consonant letter is /b/ and it is not a vowel, so we use the indefinite article 'a.'
With abbreviations and acronyms that are spelled out, or pronounced with a vowel sound in the beginning you should use the indefinite article 'an'; even if the letter is a consonant letter. Check out the examples:
How to Use Indefinite Articles
How to Use Definite Articles?
The definite article 'the' can be used with singular or plural countable nouns and even we can use it with uncountable nouns. Here are the examples:
Sometimes there is no need to use an article to modify the noun. In this case, we are actually using a zero article. Check out the examples to get to know them better:
the Marcus' or ' a Marcus')
a science' or ' the science')
When To Use Zero Article
Here are the most common cases in which we do not use an article:
- languages, meals, academic subjects
- games and sport, names
- places, days, months
Position in a Noun Phrase
- quantifier + article + number + adjective + head noun
Here are a few examples:
In this example, the word order is quantifier + article + adjective + the head noun.
Here, the word order is zero article + possessive determiner + head noun.
Based on whether an article defines a specific noun or not, they are categorized into two groups, as follows.
- definite article (the)
- indefinite article (a,an)