We are very well aware of ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’, these are called articles and very frequently we use these three words in our daily conversations, we come across these words while we are reading a text, we hear these three words from someone, while we listen to them and we also use them while speaking. 

Article is a small concept to know about, but as seen above, they are used in our day-to-day conversations and in every little concept too. Without articles, it becomes difficult to make a sentence meaningful and sensible. 

Let us know what articles are all about, let us also know its 3 types along with examples followed by a short revision exercise to check your understanding.

Articles are nothing but Determiners. The three types of articles are ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. These three are the main types of articles and are also the most common of all determiners. These articles come at the start of a noun phrase. They are divided into ‘definite’ and ‘indefinite’ wherein ‘a’ and ‘an’ come under the indefinite articles, whereas ‘the’ comes under the definite article. 

‘A’ and ‘an’ can only be used with singular countable nouns only and for a non-specific person or a thing. 

‘The’ is a definite article and it can be used for all kinds of nouns. It can only be used in the case of specific people or things that include singular or plural.

Indefinite is general and it is used to talk about the non-specifics. Whereas, Definite is very particular and is used to talk about the specifics only. ‘A’ and ‘an’ are used when we want to talk about something in general. Whereas, ‘the’ is used when we want to talk about something in particular. 

Let us understand with the help of some examples,

  1. She was born in a village.
  2. We had an opportunity to talk to her.
  3. I ordered a pizza last night for dinner.
  4. I have lost the book.
  5. We found the car keys.
  6. Have you got a plan?
  7. Let us not look at the negativity.
  8. Why don’t you purchase a motorbike?
  9. We have lots to do with the plan.
  10. Do you want to buy a pen?

Depending on the situation and the word, we can often use a/an or the.

Let us look at some examples,

  1. I want to buy a pen. (This sentence says that I want to buy any pen, not just a particular pen.)
  2. It’s sunny. Where is the cap? (I already have a cap, but I’m looking for my cap, a particular cap.)

Remember that we use a/an (indefinite article) only in the case of singular countable nouns like ‘a pen, an umbrella, a very small chicken, an extremely delicious meal’

On the other hand, we use ‘the’ (definite article) with all sorts of nouns like ‘the pen, the umbrella, the beer, the dance, the music’

At times, it is even possible to have no article, which is also called the Zero article. There is a possibility that it can occur with all kinds of nouns but usually not with singular countable nouns like ‘cat, music, dance, food’

This was a short explanation of the articles and how they can be used in English. Let us now move forward to a short revision exercise to check your understanding of the concept.


Complete the exercise on paper or in a book and keep it for your future reference.

  1. A/an can be used with all kinds of nouns. (True/False)
  2. ‘The’ can be used only with singular countable nouns. (True/false)
  3. Do you want to watch ___ movie? (Fill the blank with correct article- an, a, this)

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