What is an Article?

Articles are used to specify nouns. They indicate whether the noun is singular or plural (that is, if there is one or many), whether it is a specific noun or any noun of that type, and whether we are talking about a new noun or a noun that has already been introduced in the conversation.

There are two types of articles:
Definite Article

Definite Articles:

The only definite article in English is the word the, which also happens to be the most common article. It is used to indicate a specific noun, either one discussed before, one likely to be known to all participants, or one that is important or exceptional.

  • The final boss in that video game is nearly unbeatable.
  • Give him the book he wanted.

Indefinite Articles:

There are two indefinite articles: “a” and “an”.

When deciding between using “a” and “an,” the only thing to consider is the sound of the word that follows the article.

If the next word begins with a consonant sound, then use a.
If it begins with a vowel sound, then use an.

  • An announcement.
  • An argument.
  • An iguana.
  • A cat.
  • A high-society event.
  • A yellow banana.

Keep in mind that the next sound may actually be written as a consonant but sound like a vowel (for example, the letter β€œh”), and vice versa. It’s the sound that matters, not the letter.

  • An FBI investigation.
  • A human.
  • An honor.

No article:

Do not use an article with countries, states, counties/provinces, lakes, or mountains. There is an exception when the country is a collection of states, such as “The United States.”

  • They climbed Mount Everest.
  • He lives in New York.
  • They are from Northern British Colombia.
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