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A or An or The, which are demonstrative adjectives, are called Articles.

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  • Definite Article – The
    ‘The’ is a definite article because it points to a specific thing. It is used before proper nouns and also used when we believe that the hearer/reader knows exactly what we are referring to.
  • Indefinite Article – A or AN
    A or An is the indefinite Article because it points to a nonspecific thing. Ex: A cow, A river, An elephant.
    Usage of ‘A’ or ‘An’ is determined by the sound. A word beginning with a vowel sound takes ‘An’ before it.
Example :

An honest politician, An hour, An umbrella, An heir, etc.



 Note :
The words like hours, honest, heir begin with the consonant ‘h’, but they are pronounced with a vowel sound and the initial consonant ‘h’ is silent. Hence, the article ‘An’ precedes them.

Words beginning a vowel but pronounced with consonant sound take article ‘a’ before them.


Example :
A University, A European, A Unicorn, A Useful Article, A union

The words university, unicorn, union begin with a sound ‘yu’, so despite they start with a vowel ‘U’, article ‘A’ precedes them. Similarly, the words like we use ‘A one-rupee note’ instead of ‘An one-rupee note’ or ‘A one-eyed man’ instead of ‘An one-eyed man’.



A one-eyed

A one
rupee note

A one
dollar bill


An one-eyed man

An one
rupee note

An one
dollar bill

Indefinite Article’s Usage



It is used:

  1. In its initial numerical sense of one. Ex:
    1. Three feet make a yard.
    2. Not a word was uttered.
  2. In the uncertain sense of certain. 
    Ex: One fine evening a rat knocked at my door as if it were a human being.
  3. In the meaning of ‘any’ to indicate an individual as the representative of a group.
    Ex: A student should pay respect to his/her parents.
  4. To convert a proper noun into a common noun.
    Ex: A Kiran Bedi is required to curb the crime.


Definite Article – The

THE is called the Definite Article because it refers to some particular person or thing.

Ex: The office: that is some particular officer.


Definite Article’s Usage

THE is used in the following cases:

  1. With a particular person or thing or the one already denoted. Ex:
    1. I like the gift.
    2. The shirt you wanted has been sold.
  2. ​​With a singular noun means to represent a whole class. Ex:
    1. The dog thrives on tender care.
      Two nouns man and woman used in the general sense to denote the whole class never have either article.
      Ex: Many a time woman is behind man’s success.
  3. With name of gulfs, rivers, seas, oceans, group of islands, and mountain-ranges.
    Ex: The Arabian sea, The Ganges, The Atlantic Ocean, etc.
  4. With names of certain books
    Ex: The Bible, The Mahabharata, The Ramayana, etc.
  5. Before names of things, unique of their kind although they are common nouns.
    Ex: The Volcano, The Sun, The Ocean, etc.
  6. A common noun takes ‘The’ to make it an abstract noun.
    Ex: Ultimately the poet in him came to the forefront.
  7. Before a proper noun only when it is qualified by an adjective or an adjectival clause.
    Ex: The great Satyajit Ray, The immortal Premchand
  8. With superlatives
    Ex: The darkest night has a bright morning.
  9. With ordinals
    Ex: Seth was the 3rd person to speak.
  10. Before an adjective which works as a noun.
    Ex: The brave are on our side.
  11. Before a noun to give the force of a superlative
    Ex: Compressor is the heart (the chief part) in an AC.
  12. As an adverb with comparative
    Ex: The higher the better, The more they have etc.

‘THE’ (Article) is omitted in the following cases

  1. Before names of materials
    Ex: Copper is a soft metal.
  2. Before proper nouns
    Ex: Mumbai is the Manchester of India.
  3. When the article is used with proper nouns, they become common nouns.
    Ex: This author is a second Sartre.
  4. Before a common noun used in its widest sense.
    Ex: Only man has the power.
  5. Before Languages
    Ex: He likes Devanagri.
  6. Before abstract nouns used in a general senseEx:
    1. Truth cannot be hidden for a long time.
    2. Wisdom shines from all sides.
  7. Before words of relations like father, mother, aunt, uncle (and also cook and nurse)

Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives are words that describe nouns and pronouns. They may come before the word they describe (That is a cute baby) or they may follow the word they describe (That baby is cute).

Adverbs are words that modify everything but nouns and pronouns. They modify adjectives, verbs and other adverbs. A word is an Adverb it is answers how, when or where.


Example : 

He walks slowly.

Rule 1

Generally if a word answers the question ‘How’, it is an adverb. If it can have an ly added to it, place it there.

Example : 

He thinks slowly. (answers the question “how does she think”)

He is a slow thinker. (Slow does not answer how. So no ly is attached. Slow is an adjective here).

They performed badly. (Here badly describes how they performed).

Rule 2

A special ‘ly’ rule applies when four of the senses – taste, smell, look and feel – are the verbs. Do not ask if these senses answer the question how to determine if ly should be attached. Instead, ask if the sense verb is being used actively. If so, use the ‘ly’.

Example : 

Flowers smell (sweet or sweetly)?

Do the flowers actively smell with noses? No, so no ly. So it is flowers smell sweet.

The woman looked angry/angrily? – Did the woman actively look with eyes or are we describing her appearance, so, no ly. So it is “The woman looked angry”.

The woman looked angry/angrily at the paintings? – Here the woman did actively look with eyes, so the ly is needed. So it is “The woman looked angrily at the

Rule 3

The word good is an adjective while well is an adverb.

Example : 

He did a good job. (Good describes the job)

He did the job well. (Well answers how)

Rule 4

When referring to health, always use well.

Example :

I am not feeling well today.

Rule 5

A common error—Using the wrong form for comparison.

Example : 

To describe one thing, for example rich, as in, “he is rich”. To compare two things, we should say richer, as in, “he is the richer of the two men”. To compare more than two things, we should say richest, as in, “he is the richest of them all”.

Rule 6

Never drop the ly from an adverb when using the comparison form.

Correct—She spoke quickly.

She spoke more quickly than he did.

Incorrect—She spoke quicker than he did.

Rule 7

This and That are singular, whether they are being used as adjectives or as pronouns. This points to something nearby while that points to something ‘over there’.

This cat is mine.

That cat is hers.

Rule 8

These and those are plural, whether they are being used as adjectives or as pronouns. These points to something nearby while those points to something ‘over there’.

Example : 

These are mine. Those are yours.

Rule 9

Using than and then—Use ‘than’ to show comparison. Use ‘then’ to answer the question ‘when’.

I would rather go skiing than swimming.

First we went to play cricket; then we went skiing.

Subject Verb Agreement

Essence of SVA lies with the fact that “Subjects and Verbs must Agree”. The ‘subject’ of a sentence, noun or a pronoun, and the verb in the given sentence must agree in number. Singular subjects must be paired with singular verbs; and plural subjects, with plural verbs. Though it might appear very simple, but questions asked use tricky and complex constructions making it difficult to decode the Subject/Verb and its singularity/plurality.

Some of the examples of putting tricky questions are given below:

  1. Some words qualifying the subject given inserted between Subject and Verb.


    Example :

    1. The child, together with his grandfather and his parents, is going to multiplex.
      Given statement is correct. Subject here is child, and hence, ‘is’ is correct. The accompanying words “his grandfather and his parents” just provides the extra information.
    2. Ritu, alongwith her friends, have gone to movie.
      This statement is incorrect. Subject here is Ritu, and hence, verb should be singular – has.
  2. Usage of deflectors

    Example :

    1. His mastery of several sports and the social graces make him a sought-after coach.
      What is the subject here – ‘His mastery’ is the subject. Hence, verb should be ‘makes’.
      In this statement, “of several sports and the social graces” is a deflector. These words are put just to confuse you in identifying the subject.
      So the correct statement would be – His mastery of several sports and the social graces makes him a sought-after coach.
  3. Presence of Collective nouns
    Collective nouns like family, majority, audience, and committee are singular when they act in a collective fashion or represent one group. They are plural when the members of the collective body act as individuals.


    Example :

    1. The flock of birds is flying north.
      This sentence is correct as it mentions “flock of birds” as a singular entity. We are not talking about the direction of flying of one bird, but of the whole flock in unison. Hence, using singular verb ‘is’ is correct.
    2. The team are always fighting amongst themselves.
      This sentence is correct. Since the members of the team are not shown as a singular entity, rather they have been presented as individuals, hence, plural verb ‘are’ is required.
  4. Use of ‘And’/‘Or’/‘Nor’
    If ‘and’ has been used, verb should be plural.


    Example :
    Maulik and Vikas are going to watch a movie. (Movie)


    If ‘or’/‘nor’ has been used, verb should be singular.


    (a) Maulik or Vikas is going. (Correct)

  5. Use of ‘Neither – Nor/‘Either – Or’
    If two subjects are joined by ‘Either – or’ or ‘Neither – nor’, the verb should agree with the subject that is closer to it.


    Example :

    1. Neither the principal nor the staff members were able to find the mistake.
      This sentence is correct, as the verb follows the subject ‘staff members’ which is plural. Hence, ‘are’ is being used.
  6. Except for the pronouns (few, many, several, both, all, some) that always take the plural form.


    Example :
    Few were left alive after the flood.

  7. If two subjects are joined by and, they typically require a plural verb form.
    The cow and the pig are jumping over the moon.
  8. The verb is singular if the two subjects separated by and refer to the same person or thing.
    Red beans and rice is my mom’s favorite dish.
    See more on the Subject—Verb Agreement in Chapter 1 – Grammar.

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