The words a, an and the are called articles. Actually they are demonstrative adjectives and are used to point out people or things.
A and An are indefinite articles and The is definite article.
Uses of An
We use An before a countable noun in the singular number beginning with a vowel (a., e, i, o, u) sound.
For example: an ant, an axe, an apple
All the three nouns ant, axe, and apple are countable, they are in the singular, and they being with vowel sound.
Many words begin with a silent h. So they also begin with a vowel sound and therefore take an:
For example: an hour, an honest servant, an honorable man
Uses of A
We use A before a countable noun in the singular number beginning with a consonant sound.
For example: a man, a flower, a cow
All the three nouns ant, axe, and cow are countable, they are in the singular, and they being with consonant sound.
Note the use of the article A with some words beginning with vowels:
For example: A university, a European, a one rupee note, a one eyed man
The words university and European begin with vowels – u and e both these words are pronounced with the yoo sound and, which is a consonant sound.
The words one begins with the vowel – o but one is pronounced with the w sound which is also a consonant sound. Therefore we say a one rupee note or a one eyed man.
Uses of The
We use The
1. Before any noun when we want to particularize it:
For example: We lost the ball with which we are playing
(As we are not talking of any ball but the ball with which we were playing)
2. With the superlatives:
For example: Mr. Gupta is the richest person in town.
3. With the words like first , last, next , only :
For example: Madhu is the only daughter of her parents.
4. With the common nouns when they represent the whole class:
For example: The rose is a beautiful flower.
5. With the nouns such as earth, mood, sun, sky as these are unique and cannot be duplicate:
For example: The earth revolves around the sun.
6. With the names of rivers, seas, oceans, mountain ranges, name of directions, holy books:
For example: The Narmada falls into the Arabian Sea.
The Himalayas lie in the north of India.
The Ramayana was written by Valmiki.
7. With the names of trains, ships, airplanes etc.
For example: We traveled by the Rajdhani Express
8. With the name of some countries:
For example: The U.K. and the U.S.A. are developed countries.
9. With the names of newspapers and well known buildings:
For Example: We read The Times of India and The Indian express daily.
We Visited the Taj Mahal last week.
10. It is also used to show the position of any object like :
For example: This tree is in the middle of the road
11. It is used to show the status of any person like :
For example: She is the old woman.
there are some places where we cannot use any articles this is called Omission of Articles
1. No Article is used with proper nouns:
For example: Ashok was a kind ruler or New Delhi is the capital of India.
2. No Article is used wit abstract Noun:
For example: Beauty pleases our eyes or Wisdom is admired everywhere
3. No article is used with such Nouns as gold, silver, water etc. which name materials:
For example: Gold is an expensive metal or Children should drink milk everyday
Please Note the following:
1. Whenever a noun (any kind of noun) is particularized, we have to use the definite article the:
Water is essential for life (In this sentence, the water name is material. So we have not used any article with it)
The water in the tank is contaminated (here, water has been particularized, so we used the with it.)
When we say English, it means the English language. When we say the English, it means the English people.
1. I can't ride a horse.
2. The Sky is very clear tonight.
3. His sister is an intelligent girl.
4. What did you have for lunch?
5. Who is the best player in your cricket team?
6. Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
7. We had an interesting program last night.
8. Her mother is a doctor, her father is an engineer.
9. Leena was ill last week, so he didn't go to the School.
10. The Sun sets in the west.