Formerly Articles were classified as a separate part of speech but now they have been classified as Adjectives. Like adjectives, they precede and modify nouns. There are three articles in English – A, An and The. For example:
(a) Metre is a unit of length.
(b) I saw an old man in the park
Types of Articles:
There are two types of articles:
1. Indefinite articles
2. Definite article
1. Indefinite Articles:
“A and An” are Indefinite articles. They are used to refer to the nouns that are not specific. For example: a book, an idea, a word, a table, a girl, etc.
Use of the Indefinite articles:
The choice between a and an is determined by sound. “A” is used before a consonant or a vowel with a consonant sound and “An” before a vowel or a consonant beginning with a vowel sound.
1. before a consonant or a vowel with a consonant sound
(a) a tiger, a leaf, a chair, a thought, a plan, etc.
(b) a useful, a unit, a university, a European, a one-rupee note, etc.
2. before a vowel or a consonant beginning with a vowel sound.
(a) an owl, an idiot, an old man, an idea, an egg, etc.
(b) an M.A., an honest boy, an hour, an heir, etc.
2. Definite article
“The” is called the definite article. It is used to point out some particular person, place or thing. For example:
(a) The book you want is out of print
(b) The rose is the sweetest of all flowers.
(c) He was the first man to arrive.
Use of the Definite article:
This article is used before the following:
(1) Before the singular common noun
(a) The dog is a faithful animal.
(b) The sheep eats grass.
(2) Before the superlatives;
(a) She is the best student of the school.
(b) Richard is the richest person of the town.
(3) Before the specific person or things:
(a) The man you met in the morning is my uncle.
(b) This is the watch my father presented me on my birthday.
(4) Before the heavenly bodies, the names of newspapers, magazines, rivers, seas, gulfs, groups of islands, a union of smaller states and deserts, titles, surnames in plural, names of ships, well-known trains and political parties, the people in general, musical instruments, etc. For example:
(a) The sun, the moon, the comet, etc.
(b) The Times of India, the Stardust, the Ganges, the Atlantic Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the West Indies, The USA, the Sahara, etc.
(c) The king of Nepal, the Queen of England, the Mayor of Agra, etc.
(d) The Galgotias, the Khans, the Chauhans, the Jains, etc.
(e) The Titanic, the Taj Express, the Aam Aadmi Party, etc.
(f) The English, the French, the Afganees, the Russians, etc.
(g) The guitar, the harmonium, the table, the flute, etc.
Repetition of the Articles
1. When two or more nouns joined by “and” refer to the same person or thing, the article is used only before the first but if they refer to different persons or things, the article is repeated before each of them. For example:
(a) The Principal and the Secretary have gone for the visit. (two separate men)
(b) The Principal and Secretary has gone for the visit. (two same man)
2. If two nouns in a comparison refer to the same object, the article is used before the first noun only. But if the nouns refer to different objects, the article is used before each noun. For example:
(a) Charlie is a better writer than speaker. (Same person)
(b) Charlie is a better writer than a speaker. (would make) (Different persons)
3. When two or more adjectives refer to the same noun, the article is used before the first. For example:
You have a black and brown dog. (Same dog)
4. When two or more adjectives refer to different nouns, the article is used before each adjective. For example:
You have a black and a brown dog. (Different dogs)