Articles in English: The, a or an

Articles in English: The, a or an

What is an Article?

Articles are used to specify nouns. They indicate whether the noun is singular or plural (that is, if there is one or many), whether it is a specific noun or any noun of that type, and whether we are talking about a new noun or a noun that has already been introduced in the conversation.

There are two types of articles:
Definite Article
IndefiniteArticle

Definite Article:

The only definite article in English is the word the, which also happens to be the most common article. It is used to indicate a specific noun, either one discussed before, one likely to be known to all participants, or one that is important or exceptional.

Indefinite Article:

There are two indefinite articles: "a" and "an".

When deciding between using "a" and "an," the only thing to consider is the sound of the word that follows the article.

If the next word begins with a consonant sound, then use a.
If it begins with a vowel sound, then use an.

Keep in mind that the next sound may actually be written as a consonant but sound like a vowel (for example, the letter “h”), and vice versa. It’s the sound that matters, not the letter.

No article:

Do not use an article with countries, states, counties/provinces, lakes, or mountains. There is an exception when the country is a collection of states, such as "The United States."


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