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Rules of Using Articles

Definite and indefinite articles have different usage in different scenarios.

Using indefinite Article: a & an

Rule 1:

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.

Example:

  • 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).

 

Rule 2:

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.

 

Rule 3:

When a proper noun needs to be used as a common noun, we need to use articles with it.

Example:

  • 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.

 

Rule 4:

Sometimes the use of ‘a’ or ‘an’ indicates the quantity of a noun.

Example:

  • 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.

 

Rule 5:

Indefinite articles are also used before adjectives that describe a quality.

Examples:

  • Picasso was an exceptional artist.
  • This is a great quality video.

 

Rule 6:

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.

Examples:

  • 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”

Rule 1:

Article “the” is used to describe something particular.

Example:

  • The team has won.
  • This is the novel I have been reading.
  • Pass me the glass of water.

 

Rule 2:

“The” is used to classify or group something.

Example:

  • The camels are best for travel around a dessert.
  • The successful people are always hardworking.
  • The pandas are getting endangered.

 

Rule 3:

Using ‘the’ before an uncountable noun or a non-count.

Example:

  • The stars shine bright at night.
  • Robbers stole all the money from the bank.

 

Rule 4:

It is compulsory to use “The” before something that is one of its kind.

Example:

  • The sun is a stationary star.
  • The planets revolve in an orbit.

 

Rule 5:

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.
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