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Published on August 21st, 2011 In category Education | English

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Use of articles in english sentence

There are 2 types and in total 3 articles in English grammar.  a, an and the- a & an are called as indefinite articles where as the is called as definitive articles. To learn to use the articles in the sentence formation is important to solve the problems based on correct the sentence or reading comprehensions types. Here I have included some common rules for using articles in the English sentence.

When TO USE Indefinite articles: ( an is typically used with the words starting with sounds alphabet like a, e, i, o, u)

  • a or an is used before a singular nown with is either countable or that complements a nown for ex. ( Young bheem became a great warrior) or ( A basket has been broken by mistake)
  • a or an are also used with expressions like a lot, a dozen, a great deal of. It is also used extensivly to denote expression for speed or price ( for eg. Rs 20 a kilo, at a speed of 60 Km/hrs)
  • Used with exclamtion like ( what a lovely girl !, what a beautiful landscape !
  • MOST IMP- The indefinte articles when used with words like FEW and LITTTE can change the meaning of the sentence consider this

We have a little time to celebrate birthday    ( means we have very less time)

We have little time to celebrate birthday        ( mean we have no time)

When NOT to use Indefinite articles:

  • Indefinite articles should not be used with Abstract Nowns ( fear, honesty, Bravery, Deciet, Trust etc.)  Like it would apprroriate to say ( He was a honest man – but not a Honesty is best policy)

He lead is life with full honesty –  we will NOT say – He lead is life with a full honesty

  • Not to use with the materials like cloth, stone, iron etc.  Like – This pan is made of steel , you will NOT say This is pan is made of a steel. But you can say Please give me a glass of water – (here it means tumbler filled with water)
  • It is not used with the names of meals- Like  Ram takes dinner at 8:00 PM in evening, He invited me for lunch at Taj

Exception: If an adjective is used then articles can be used like – It was a very tasty dinner. ( Becuase here we are talking of that specific dinner) or like we can say – All IAS officers were invite for a lunch with prime minister

Definite Artcile- USE of THE   ( As the name denotes use of THE gives certianinty to the meaning of the sentence) – When you see THE it should give you feel of certainity)

  • The is used to define a person, thing which are definite or has a certainity attached for eg. This is the plate used by Mahatma Gandhi
  • Used with article or things that exists only as single or known to only of one kind for eg. The Universe, The Earth, The Moon etc
  • The is used before superlative as also before only when it is used as adjective for eg. This is the highest marks I have got in my school days; also The is the first book I had read
  • The is used to denote a class: The fox is clever animal. ( this means all fox) – This also used very cleverly in the advt. of  The Auto ( Which denotes the class apart- Remeber the advt. of Volkswagen – Das Auto – Das in german mean THE, that gives feel only VW is real auto a class by itself)
  • The is used before the names of Mountains, Oceans, Seas, Rivers and Islands like The Andes, The Himalayas etc.
  • The is also used before muscial instruments- The Piano, The Harmonium

The is NOT used with:

  • The is not used with Proper Nowns like Names of the places, countries, etc.
  • The is not used before the parts of body
  • The is not used with indefinite plural nown

Exceptions:  If the is used with places then it is refering to a particular place or name for eg.

Tansen is the Mozzart of India

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