‘a‘, ‘an‘, and ‘ the‘ are called articles.
Uses of ‘a’ and ‘an‘
We use ‘a’ and ‘an‘ with singular countable noun.
We use a with a word beginning with the consonant sound.
e.g. a book, a university, a young man, a table, etc.
We use ‘an‘ with a word beginning with a vowel sound.
e.g. an elephant, an hour, an heir, an orange, etc.
Use of ‘the‘
- Unique things.
e.g. the sun, the moon, the sky, the environment, etc.
- Singular nouns representing the whole class.
e.g. the rose, the computer, the teacher, the scientist, etc.
- Superlative degrees of adjectives.
e.g. the tallest, the coldest, the most interesting thing, etc.
- Before adjectives used as nouns.
e.g. the rich, the poor, the disabled, the unemployed, the brace, etc. Note: only few adjectives are used as nouns.
- Before names of newspapers, magazines,
e.g. the Newsweek, the Time, etc.
- Before ordinals.
e.g. the first, the next, the last, the third, etc.
- Before Holy Books.
e.g. the Quran, the Bible, the Ramayana. etc.
- Before the nouns which are in context.
e.g. the window, the kitchen, the door, the TV, etc.
- When a thing is mentioned the second time.
e.g. I collided with a tree. The tree was in the center of the road.
I met a boy yesterday the boy could speak many languages fluently.
Omission of ‘the’
- before proper nouns
- before abstract nouns
- before material nouns
- before names of meals
- before names of languages
- before names of relations
- before names of games
- before names of diseases
- before names of colours
- before fixed phrases, e.g. by bus, by air, catch fire, in trouble, in debt, at home, on duty, on time, etc.