Definite and indefinite articles have different usage in different scenarios.
Using indefinite Article: a & an
It is necessary for a singular common noun to have an article before it, whereas a plural common noun doesn’t need an article. In order to particularize a plural noun, we can use the definitive article.
- A car stopped at the red signal. (article required with a singular noun)
- Some cars stopped at the red signal. (no article needed when using plural noun).
- These are the same documents, which got verified. (Article the used with a plural).
Use of a and an is determined by the sound of the words used. If the words have vowel sounds than “an” is used, and the words sounding a consonant use the article “a”. However, there are some exceptions.
- A useful advice, a unit.
- An MPhil degree holder, An MBA.
When a proper noun needs to be used as a common noun, we need to use articles with it.
- He is a Don Bradman for Pakistan Cricket Team. (Don Bradman is a name and a proper noun, here it is used alongside an article)
- Due to his accent, he seems to be a Scottish.
Sometimes the use of ‘a’ or ‘an’ indicates the quantity of a noun.
- You need a pay a hundred dollars to buy this. (Means one hundred dollars)
- The team needs a wicket to win this game now. (Just one wicket required to win the game).
- The speed of the car was 100 miles an hour.
Indefinite articles are also used before adjectives that describe a quality.
- Picasso was an exceptional artist.
- This is a great quality video.
The article “A” comes before a determining word. For instance a very, a little, a short, etc. But when “Many” is used, the articles come after.
- A kept a few chocolates in the fridge.
- It was a short documentary but descriptive.
- I have been in the same situation many a time.
Using Definite Article: “The”
Article “the” is used to describe something particular.
- The team has won.
- This is the novel I have been reading.
- Pass me the glass of water.
“The” is used to classify or group something.
- The camels are best for travel around a dessert.
- The successful people are always hardworking.
- The pandas are getting endangered.
Using ‘the’ before an uncountable noun or a non-count.
- The stars shine bright at night.
- Robbers stole all the money from the bank.
It is compulsory to use “The” before something that is one of its kind.
- The sun is a stationary star.
- The planets revolve in an orbit.
Article “the” is also used with geographic nouns, with the following exceptions:
The must not precede:
- Name of countries.
- Name of states.
- Name of continents.
- Name of sports, etc.
“The” must precede:
There are some nouns where “The” is required.
- Names of countries starting with united or island.
- Names of oceans, seas.
- Great Lakes.
- Names of mountain ranges.
- Names of a group of islands.