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A, an and the are known as article. They are, in fact, adjectives and also called determiners in the modern grammar.

A ‘determiner’ is a word, phrase or affix that occurs together with a noun or noun phrase and serves to express the reference of that noun or noun phrase in the context.


 She is a girl.
 This is an umbrella.
 John is a very intelligent boy.
 This is the best boy of my school.

Types Of Article




Indefinite Articles: A/An

It is used before the indefinite signature noun, therefore, it is called as indefinite article.


 He sang a song.
 Mohan is an intelligent boy.
 An MP died in an accident.
 Once upon a time, there was a king.
 He was an old man.


Indefinite Article: Rules

This is determined by the vowel sound or consonant sound.

Vowel sound is based on a, e, i, o, u and consonant sound is based on the rest the sounds, e.g., p, t, k, f, etc.

‘An’ is used before a word starting with vowel sound.

A is used before a word starting with consonant sound.


Note: The first letter of the word is not important here. First sound of pronunciation is important.

If first sound belongs to vowel sound, an will be used.

If first sound belongs to consonant sound, ‘a’ will be used.


Words Beginning with Vowel and Vowel Sound














Words Beginning with Consonant and Consonant Sound




















Words Beginning with Vowel and Consonant Sound


One rupee note



One eyed man









Words Beginning with Consonant and Vowel Sound























One and A/An: Differences

A/an is an indefinite article whereas one is a adjective.

One may be followed by other or another in some particular sentence structure whereas a/an cannot be used in the same manner.


Example 1: One employ wants to work, another wants to go.
One is used for a particular period of time which is not specified whereas a/an is not used in this manner.


Example 2: One day you will remember my performance.


Definite Article

When we talk about a particular noun (person, place or thing), we use definite article ‘The’. We also use definite article for a noun which has already been described. For example,

  1. Once upon a time, there was a prince. The prince was very handsome.
  2. This is the room in which she studies.
  3. The man in white clothes is my boss.
  4. The cow is a pet animal.

Place of an Article

  1. Article + Noun
    As we have studied in earlier examples, article comes just before the noun. For example,
  •   She has a pencil.
  •   He has an idea.
  1. Article + Adjective + Noun
    When we use an adjective for a noun and place the adjective just before the noun, we place the articles just before the adjective. For example,
  •   George carries a heavy box.
  •   Johny was the tallest boy.
  1. Article + Adverb + Adjective + Noun
    When we use an, adjective and a noun, we place them all in the manner written above. For example,
  • Mili draws a very bold line.

Use of Indefinite Article: A/An

  1. It comes before a singular countable noun.
  2. When a proper noun is not known to the speaker, indefinite article is used just before the proper noun.
    For example,
  • This story is written by a Kailash.
  • In the aforesaid sentence Kailash is unknown to the speaker.
  1. It also represents the whole class or group and gives the meaning ‘Any’. For example,
  •   A teacher should shape his student.
  •   A horse is used in many ways.
  1. It is used in the exclamatory sentences in the following ways. For example,
  •   What an idea!
  •   What a nice book!
  1. When a proper noun is used as a common noun. For example,
  •   He is a Hanuman in our society. (as great as Hanuman)
  •   He is a Hitler. (as cruel as Hitler)
  1. It is used in the sense of ‘per’ i.e., for everyone. For example,
  •   My car runs 70 km any hour.
  •   I earn ` 50,000 a month.
  1. When a verbal noun (a noun made by a verb) is used in the predicate of a sentence, indefinite article is used. For example,
  •   I want to have a talk.
  •   She is ready for a walk.
  1. In certain phrases, it denotes the number or quantity. For example,
  •   A lot of things are to be done.
  •   A great deal of electricity is required in this project.
  •   A number of problems are coming in this plan.
  1. Many a times, collective nouns are used with indefinite articles. For example,
  •   A fleet of
  •   A galaxy of
  •   A heap of
  •   A bundle of
  1. When a single person or thing carries more than one adjective, an indefinite article is used.
  •   A black and white TV. (Single TV)
  •   A red and purple curtain. (Single curtain)
  •   A black and white shirt. (Two shirts)
  •   A clerk and cashier. (Single individual)
  1. There are certain phrases which are used with indefinite articles. Such phrases are given below. For example,
  •   To make a noise
  •   To tell a
  •   To take a bath
  •   As a matter of fact
  •   In a hurry
  1. When two subjects are treated as a single unit. For example,
  • Two and two makes four.

Use of Definite Article: The

  1. When we talk about a particular noun or a noun which has already been described. 
    For example,
  • The CD you want is out of stock.
  • The king was hungary (The king already described).
  • I purchased a shirt. The shirt was very costly.
  • The man sitting next to me was Dr Roy.
  1. ‘The’ is used before singular countable noun to represent the whole class, community or group. 
    For example,
  • The horse is an energetic animal.
  • The cow is a useful animal.
  • The rat is dangerous for us.
  • The lion is considered to be the king of the jungle.
  1. ‘The’ is used in case of superlative degree of adjective. For example,
  • Sam is the fastest runner of the race.
  • Lily is the most beautiful girl in the town.
  • This is the easiest method I have ever seen.
  1. Before some proper nouns the range of which is given below:
    1. Gulf and Bays. For example,
      The Persian Gulf, The Gulf of Mexico, The Bay of Bengal.
    2. Oceans and Seas. For example,
      The Indian Ocean, The Black Sea, The Red Sea, The Pacific Ocean
    3. Rivers. For example,
      The Ganga, The Nile, The Godawari, The Sutlej, The Mississippi
    4. Canals. For example,
      The Svez Canal, The Panama Canal
    5. Ships and Planes. For example,
      The Boeing, The Vikrant
    6. Trains. For example,
      The North-east express, The Intercity
    7. Deserts. For example,
      The Thar, The Sahara
    8. Names of the newspapers. For example,
      The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Asian Age, 
      The Times of India, The Pioneer, The Indian Express
    9. Group of islands. For example,
      The West Indies, The Andaman Islands
    10. The mountain ranger. For example,
      The Alps, The Himalayas
    11. Important historical events. For example,
      The Freedom struggle, The World War I, The French Revolution
    12. Political Parties. For example,
      The Bhartiya Janta Party, The Republic Party, The Congress Party, The Conservative Party, The Communist Party
    13. Religion. For example,
      The Hindus, The Christians, The Sikhs, The Muslims
    14. Important or historical buildings. For example,
      The Taj Mahal, The Red Fort, The Diwan-e-khas, The Jama Masjid
    15. Names of certain book. For example,
      The Vedas, The Ramayana, The Quran, The Bible, The Puranas
    16. Official Post. For example,
      The President, The Prime Minister, The Chairman, The Executive Director
    17. Geographical figure or celestial bodies. For example,
      The Sun, The Moon, The Earth
    18. Armed Forces. For example,
      The Army, The Navy, The Police, The Air Force
    19. Library. For example,
      The British Library, The American Library
    20. Dynasty. For example,
      The Gupt Dynasty, The Slave Dynasty
    21. Empire. For example,
      The Mughal Empire, The Roman Empire
  2. With ordinal numbers. For example,
    You are the second person to come in the wedding feast.
    He was the last sportsman to get this award.
  3. When a thing is understood in a sentence, ‘the’ is used before it. For example,
    Now you have to bring the book.
    He has gone to the Airport.
    He wants to meet the director.
    Have you heard the story?
  4. When an adjective follows a noun and qualifies the same. For example,
    Ashoka, the great
    Charlie Chaplin, the comedian
    Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the reformer
    Hitler, the cruel
    Gandhi, the leader
    J.R.D. Tata, the businessman
  5. Before the names denoting a group. For example,
    The Gymkhana Club
    The UNESCO
    The European Union
    The Rotary Club
    The Mirinda Foundation
    The Rajiv Gandhi Trust
  6. Single ‘the’ comes to denote a single individual and more than one ‘the’ is used for plural. For example,
    The doctor and administrator is coming soon.
    The doctor and the administrator are coming soon.

Note: In the sentence number (1), the same person is doctor and administrator and thus the subject is singular.

In the sentences number (2), doctor and administrator are the separate individual and thus the subject is plural.

  1. The is used with East, West, North, South.
    If these 4 words are associated with a word (e.g., South America), the is not used with it. For example,
    The sun rises in the east.
    He comes from South America.

Where Article Is Not to Be Used

  1. No article is used with uncountable nouns. Kindly take care that such uncountable nouns do not denote a particular sense. For example,
    Sugar is dangerous for some patients.
    Have you taken the sugar in your tea?

Note: In the sentence number (1), sugar is used in a general sense.

In the sentence number (2), sugar is used in a particular sense.

  1. Language does not carry article. For example,
    He is fluent in Hindi.
    He learnt English very fast.
  2. Companies’ names does not carry any article in general. For example, TATA, Sony, Birla, Mahindra and Mahindra.
  3. No article is used before the name of the subject. For example,
    His performance is excellent in Chemistry.
    He is a lecturer in Physics.
  4. No article is used before school, college, university, hospital, bed, etc. If these things are used in general sense. For example,
    He visits church every morning. (without article)
    I am coming from the hospital. (with article)

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