Articles in English grammar

A, an, the articles in English grammar.

Definition of articles:

Articles are also called adjectives. because they modify the noun or pronoun. Articles are also called determiners because articles determine the noun or a pronoun.

There are two types of articles in English grammar:

  • Definite article (The):
  • Indefinite article “A “and “An”:

 Definite article (THE):

we use the definite article”the” before singular and plural countable and uncountable nouns.
When the nouns are particular or specific for example, The cat is sitting under the table.
We are talking about the specific cat, we already know.


  • Give me the pencil.
  • Give me the book.

In the above sentences, the speaker is talking about some specific things so the word THE indicates that specific thing.

Where we use “THE”

The United States of America, The Muslim community, The famous Actor 

Unique Things names:
For example the Sun,  the moon

 The is also used with names like oceans, seas, rivers, deserts, gulfs, forests, peninsulas. and points of the globe
For example: “The Thames”, “The Indus river”, “The Atlantic Ocean”, 

With Countries names:
Article a or an is not used, if the country is singular, for example, She lives in CanadaHe studies in Ireland.
 “But if the country’s name has a “plural” meaning, we use ‘the’. “The People’s Republic of China”, “The Netherlands”, “The United States of America”.

The is Used with classes of People
For example The Muslim,  The rich, The poor

The is used with abbreviations
For example The USA, The UNO, 

 Indefinite article (A and An):

A is used with the countable nouns that start with a consonant and An is used with the word that starts with the vowel sound. But sometimes a noun starts from a consonant but it produces a sound of a vowel so we also use An with that type of noun. an honest man.

Example of A:

A cat, a dog, a table, a computer, a chair, a pen, a pencil,

Here the speaker is not talking about some specific things and all the words starts with the consonant so we use the word A with all the singular nouns.

Sometimes we use “a” with the noun starting with vowel, because the first letter is not producing the vowel sound.


  • university
  • union

Example of An:

An orange, an apple, an umbrella, an inkpot, an egg,

Here the speaker is not talking about some particular thing and all the words starts with a vowel so we use the word An at the start.

Sometimes we use “An” with the word that starts with a consonant:

There are some words that start with consonants but we use “An” with them. Because there are some words that start with consonants but they produced the sound of vowels so with that words we use the word “an”.


An honest man. 

Both words are starting with the consonant but they produced the sound of a consonant so we use An with them.