‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’ are the three articles used in English language. ‘a’ and ‘an’ are called indefinite Articles and ‘the’ is called the definite article.
‘a’ and ‘an’ are used in the sense of ‘one’. The indefinite Article ‘a’ is used before words beginning with consonants or consonantal sound. The indefinite Article ‘an’ is used before words beginning with vowels or vowel sound.
Ragu ate a banana.
The young boy saw a tiger.
The Principal declared a holiday for the college tomorrow.
In all the above three examples the article ‘a’ was used in the sense of one.
Sita ate an apple in the morning.
Ravi saw an elephant in the circus.
An old man was walking across the street.
Eating an orange everyday is also good for health.
Raghu lost an umbrella in class.
Gita wanted an ink-stand.
In all the above three examples the article ‘an’ was used in the sense of one.
Here it has to be emphasized that students should be careful in noticing the vowel sound. In certain cases the word may begin with a vowel but it may have a consonantal sound. In such a case the indefinite article ‘a’ should be used.
He gave the beggar a one-rupee coin.
I met a European in Karol-Bagh.
Screwdriver is a useful instrument.
This is a University.
Similarly, in other cases the word may begin with a consonant but it may have a vowel sound. In such a case the indefinite article ‘an’ should be used.
He is an honest officer.
There are 60 minutes in an hour.
He is an heir to crores of property.
The definite article ‘the’ is used before the names of rivers, mountain ranges and things which are unique in the world.
The Ganges is a polluted river now.
The Yamuna flows through Delhi.
The Himalayas are the highest mountain ranges in the world.
The Sun rises in the east.
The Moon has a cycle of one month.
The definite article ‘the’ is used before superlatives.
Kumar is the cleverest boy in the class.
Geeta is the tallest girl in the class.
Cheeta is the fastest animal.
The definite article ‘the’ is used to refer to a particular person or thing.
The patient who was admitted in the hospital yesterday, died today morning.
The apple which was kept on the table is rotten.
The computer we bought last month is infected by virus.
The definite article ‘the’ is used before Holy books.
The Ramayana, The Mahabharta
The Quran, The Bible, The Bhagwatgita
It is also used in comparison :
Mumbai is considered the Manchester of India.
Kalidasa is the Shakespeare of India.
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