English Grammar Articles| Exercises | Notes
1)Indefinite (a, an)
2) Definite (The)
1. Before words beginning with vowel sounds
[a, e, i, o, u are called vowels, others are consonants].
e.g. an apple, an egg, an owl.
2. Before words beginning with silent ‘h’.
e.g. an hour, an honourable man, an heir, an honest man.
3. F, H, L, M, N, R, S, X are letters that are not vowels but begin with vowel sound ‘M’ has the sound of ’em’. So, ‘an’ is used before abbreviations beginning with vowels of these letters.
e.g. an M.L.A., an R.A.F., an N.C.C. officer, an F.I.R., an X-ray, an H.E. school, an S.P.
Use of ‘A’
1. In the sense of one
e.g. He couldn’t speak a word to save himself.
With ‘one’ (since ‘one’ begins with sound of‘w’) e.g. a one-man show, a one-rupee note.
2. Before words beginning with consonant sound
e.g. a boy, a box, a dog.
3. With Vowel letters having consonant value.
e.g. a university, a unique article, a euphenism, a unit, a European language
4. With units and rate (per)
e.g. He earns rupees five hundred a month.
Rice sells ten rupees a kilo.
5. In exclamatory expressions before singular
countable nouns. e.g. What a pretty girl!
How sunny a day !
6. When two subjects or articles are thought of as a single unit.
e.g. He was ready with a cup and saucer.
A cigarette is made of a paper and tobacco.
7. With certain expressions of quantity
e.g. a lot of, a dozen, a great deal of, a couple.
8. With a person’s name to indicate that the person is perhaps unknown to the person addressed.
e.g. A Mr. roy is at the door.
9. With a special meal (to celebrate something or in someone’s honour)
e.g. I called my friends to a lunch to celebrate my success.
A dinner was arranged to welcome the Principal.
10. To make a common noun of a proper noun.
e.g. This man is ‘a second Newton’. (This phrase means ‘a philosopher as great as Newton’)
A Daniel’ came to judgement. (The phrase means ‘a wise man’)
Use of ‘The’
1. When we speak of a particular person or thing already referred to.
e.g. I dislike the follow.
The boy near the taps is my brother.
2. When a singular noun represents a whole class
e.g. The mango is considered the king among fruits.
The ass is used as a beast of burden.
3. With name of
(i) gulfs, rivers, oceans, islands and mountains
e.g. the Himalayas, the Indian ocean, the Persian Gulf, the Red sea, the Andaman islands, the Brahmaputra river.
(ii) Certain books
e.g. the Vedas, the Puranas, the Bible, the Ramacharitmanas.
e.g. the flute, the violin, the tabla, the trumpet.
(iv) The inventions
e.g. I hate the telephone for its constant ringing. The television is a gift of science.
(v) Parts of body
e.g. He was wounded in the leg.
They hit him on the hands.
vi) Religious groups
e.g. the Sikhs, the Hindus, the Parsees.
(vii) Names enforcing law
e.g. the Police, the Navy, the Air Force.
e.g. the Congress, the Janata Pary, the B.J.P.
(ix) Aeroplanes, ships, trains etc
e.g. theMakalu (aeroplane), the Vikrant (Ship), the Rajdhani express (train).
(x) Before names of an empire, dynasty or historical event
e.g. the Gupta dynastry, the Old Stone Age, the First World War, the American Revolution.
(xi) Clubs, foundations etc.
e.g. the Lion’s Club, the Ford Foundation.
(xii) Before common nouns denoting unique things
e.g. the sun, the sky, the earth, the worl.
(xiii) With superlatives
e.g. He is the best boy in the class.
Prizes would be given for the most outstanding performances.
(xiv) With ordinals
e.g. He took the first taxi that came his way. He lives in the tenth block.
Our class is on the second, floor.
(xv) Before the comparative degree
e.g. The more they get, the more they want.
He is the cleverer of the two.
(xvi)Before an adjective when the noun is understood
e.g. The poor would favour him.
We must not shun the disabled.