Articles are a kind of modifier that modifies noun entities. Their modification denotes whether we are talking about a specific entity or a non-specific entity and hence can be divided into two categories:
‘A’ and ‘an’ are called the indefinite articles because they each refer to an object that is not specific. These two articles are used only with singular noun entities. For example:
My mother gave me an apple and a banana for breakfast today.
Toby has a cat whom he calls Riki.
Whether to use “a” or “an” before a noun entity depends upon the sound of that entity. If the noun entity begins a vowel sound, we use “an” before it. For example: an apple, an ocean, an honest man, an MBA, etc.
If the noun entity begins with a consonant sound, we use “a” before it. For example: a bat, a horse, a university, a useful article, etc.
“The” is called the definite article as it refers to a specific noun entity. The can be used with both singular and plural noun entities. For example:
The man in blue shirt is my school friend.
The pens that you gave me yesterday are not there in my bag.
The Definite Article is used in several cases. Here are a few of the most commonly used scenarios:
When we talk about a particular person or thing, or one already referred to. Note that the context clearly indicates this specific noun.
a. The book you want is not available now.
b. The movie is doing really well.
When a singular noun is meant to represent a whole class/species. For example:
The dog is a very faithful pet.
The bamboo is a kind of grass.
. Before some proper names, such as the names of oceans and seas, rivers, deserts, mountain-ranges, groups of islands, a few countries that have “republic” or “kingdom” in their names. For example:
The Himalayas have some very difficult trekking tracks.
The Nile is the longest river of the world.
Before the names of certain books. For example: the Iliad, the Bible, etc.
Before names of things unique of their kinds. For example: the sun, the earth, etc.
With superlatives. For example: the best presentation, the most extraordinary game, etc.
Before musical instruments. For example: Krishna plays the flute.
With words representing the rank of a number with respect to some order, in particular order or position (i.e. first, second, third, etc.).
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died a few days ago.
I love the eighth chapter of this novel.
Before the adjective when the noun is understood
. For example:
In this country the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer.
As an adverb with comparatives. For example:
The more, the merrier.
Before the adjectives when they are followed by a proper noun. For example: the holy Bible, the great Caeser, etc.
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