What is an article?

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An article is a determiner that is used before a noun. There are two types of articles: indefinite articles such as “a” or “an” and the only definite article which is “the”. Articles show whether we are talking about a specific person/object or not.
Indefinite articles
The indefinite article is used in a few different cases. It can be used when the speaker is not familiar with the object being described. It can also mean “any” or “one”. “A” is used before words beginning with a consonant sound such as a cup or a dog. “An” is used before words beginning with a vowel sound such an umbrella or an apple.

Indefinite articles are used only with singular countable nouns.

Some examples of singular countable nouns are phone, hand or pencil. Some example sentences with the indefinite article are:

He is a mystery that guy.
She is a very intelligent woman.
Being an entrepreneur is never boring.
It looks like a flying saucer.
Those “business opportunities” are a dime a dozen.

Singular uncountable nouns are used without an article or with the definite article.

Some examples of singular uncountable nouns are water or rice.
Some example sentences with singular uncountable nouns are.

I ordered rice with my curry.
The rice (basmati) at that restaurant is so good!

The definite article

He has water with him every time he goes to the gym.
He took care of the water for the basketball team.

You would say, “There’s water on the floor.” You would not say there is a water on the floor. However, if the thing on the floor was a pencil this would be different.  You would say, there is a pencil on the floor.  

The definite article

The definite article is used when the speaker and the listener know what object they are talking about, for example, it has already been mentioned in the conversation. The definite article is also used to describe unique objects or people. You would say the sun or the Pope.

It can be used with singular as well as plural nouns such as the cats or the rings.  

Some example sentences with the definite article are: 
I love the smell of fresh laundry.
He is the Prime Minister of Jamaica.
He bought the last computer they had on sale.
The kids next door are really noisy.

If an adjective is used to modify a noun, it is placed between the noun and the article.

Two examples of this are a clever student and the broken watch.  

Originally published on May 17th, 2019

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