Ever wondered what those words are before nouns that you see everywhere? Well, look no further; here, we will explain articles in an easy bitesize way so you can soon be the master of creating your own article examples.
In its most basic form, the articles in English grammar work like adjectives because they modify nouns. Articles are small words that help us see whether a noun is specific or not. There are three in English, "a, an, the." Let's take a look at the following examples.
Using the definite article "the" shows that a specific day was hard, and a specific bath was a welcome surprise.
2. A warm bath is a welcome surprise after a hard day.
Using the indefinite article "a" shows that, in general, on any difficult day, a warm bath is a welcome surprise.
These three articles function differently in helping define a noun as definite or indefinite in English grammar, so let's look at them now.
Want to know to use articles in English grammar correctly? Keep reading, and you'll be an article master in no time.
The definite article "the" is always used before a noun when the identity is known or common. You can use it before a singular, plural, or uncountable noun.
The indefinite articles, ''a and an," are generally used before a general noun or when a singular noun's identity is unknown or unspecific, "an" goes before nouns with a vowel sound, and "a" goes before nouns with a consonant sound.
"A" is used before a singular noun, beginning with an English consonant sound.
"an" is used before singular non-specific nouns that begin with one of the English vowels, A, E, I, O, and U.
Let's take a closer look at the differences between indefinite articles and the definite article.
Let's look at the following examples of articles in use with "the and a."
In the 1st example, the indefinite article "a" doesn't tell us what kind of chocolate bar they want. However, in the 2nd example, the definite article "the" tells us what chocolate bar they want.
Let's look at the following examples of articles in use with "the and an."
In the 1st example, the umbrella is not specific, whereas the 2nd umbrella is likely one the person already owns.
The indefinite articles "an and a" are used depending on the starting letter of the noun the article precedes.
Think you've got it? See if you can complete the following sentences.
To understand how to use these articles in English, it's also important to understand that nouns, which articles modify, are either countable or uncountable. Nouns can be countable or uncountable, meaning you can identify precisely how many there are of that particular thing or not. This isn't the same as identifying what that thing is; it's just telling you how many of that specific or non-specific thing there are.
With singular countable nouns, we either use "an or "a."
Countable nouns are ones that you can place a valued number on; for example:
However, some nouns are uncountable, meaning they can't be divided into a number value.
"The" can be used for all nouns, including uncountable ones, but we never use "an" or "a" with uncountable nouns. The following nouns are modified by "the."
Note: as you can see with the noun dog, without the plural -s, it can be countable and therefore uses "a." With the addition of -s, which makes it plural, we use the article "the" as there's more than one.
Although articles are used in almost every sentence, sometimes they aren't necessary, referred to as the zero article phrase.
Singular, countable nouns always need an article to precede them. However, plural and uncountable nouns don't always require an article.
Generally speaking, you don't need to use an article in the following circumstances:
Here are a few tips and tricks to remember what article you need to use and whether you even need one!