English Grammar: Articles-a, an, the

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English Grammar: Articles- a, an, the

English Grammar/Articles in English/ Grammar/ Articles/ Articles rules/ a, an, the/ Rules for articles/ Articles rules for exam/ articles grammar/ definite article/ indefinite article/ article definition/ article quiz


Articles are the words used to modify a noun, which is a person, place, object, or idea.
An article is an adjective, which is any word that modifies a noun.

You can remember it as adjectives and noun-modifiers.

Articles are of two types:

1. Indefinite (a, an)
2. Definite (the)


It is an indefinite article. it is used where:

  • Singular
  • Consonant’s sound
  • Adjectives
  • Countable nouns


1. He is a good student.

2. eunuch; university ( yunuch= sound); Ouija board

3. she is a nice, intelligent and kind lady.

4. There is a pencil on my table.


It is also an indefinite article. It is used where:

  • Singular
  • Vowel’s sound
  • Adjectives
  • Countable noun


1. He is an honest employee.

2. She is an intelligent student.

3. There is an egg in the refrigerator.

4. He gave the boy an apple.


It is a definite article. It is used where:

  • Specification
  • Specific Nouns
  • Both Countable and Uncountable nouns
  • Superlative degrees
  • Singulars and Plurals

Rule 1: The is used before the names of

  • Oceans
  • Rivers
  • Mountains (in case of series of mountains)
  • Holy Books
  • Musical Instruments
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Planets
  • Historical Monuments
  • Unique things in nature
  • Double comparatives etc.

Click here to Spot the Error: Error Spotting Exercise

Rule 2: The‘ is not used with any language. When we use the before any language, it becomes the people of that country.

She is studying (the) French. Wrong

(The) Chinese are known for technology. Right

Rule 3: If The is used before some adjectives, it represents the people of that kind. That adjective becomes people.

We’d help (the) poor people. Wrong

(The) blind shouldn’t be ill-treated. Right

Rule 4: We do not use the with the name of any person in the world irrespective of their stature. When we compare the two people, then the is used.

(The) Barack Obama was the President of the USA. Wrong (the won’t be used before Barack Obama)

He is the Manmohan singh of our class. ( comparison; that’s why the is used)

Rule 5: The is used before the names of some nations as they are the group of countries or the group of islands or plurals.


  • the UK
  • the United States of America
  • the United Kingdom
  • the Republic of Congo
  • the West Indies
  • the Netherlands, the Philippines
  • the UAE
  • the Mauritius etc.

Rule 6: When abbreviation is pronounced as in a collective form, as a single word, then the is not used. and when every letter of abbreviation is pronounced separately, the is used.

ISRO has done it.

She works for the WHO.

The HIV AIDS is a disease.

AIDS is a disease.

Rule 7: used before ‘wh’ family

She is the girl who helped me.

Rule 8: used before singular noun, which represents its entire family.

The dog is a faithful animal.

Man is a social animal (exception)

Dogs are faithful animal. (Plural).

Omission of articles:

Where no articles are needed:

  • countries
  • days, months, or years etc.
  • diseases
  • meals
  • church, schools, hospitals
  • festivals
  • languages

Rule 1: When you cannot add ‘s’ or make a plural form, then the is omitted.; before uncountable nouns.

Milk is good for health.

She sells rice.

Rule 2: It is omitted Before common noun, material noun, and abstract noun when generalised.

God is merciful.

The honesty of him is well known.

Gold is precious metal.

The water in your cup is not hot.

Woman takes care of her child.

Rule 3: the is omitted before school, college, university, class, mosque, temple, church, cinema, jail, hospital etc. when visited for their primary purpose.

She goes to the hospital to meet her uncle.

She goes to school to study.

Rule 4: use of the is omitted before expressions like go to bed, set on fire, take heart, lose heart etc.

She goes to bed at 10 PM.

His house was set on fire.

Rule 5: it is omitted before words like breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner etc.

Breakfast is must for everyone.

Where is the lunch today? (Venue)

Dinner will be at 8 PM.

Rule 6: Omitted before plural nouns when generalised.

Eagles are birds of prey.

The tigers are on hunt. (not a generalised form)

No article is used with Pneumonia and Psychology.

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