A An The Articles in English Grammar [A Complete Guide]

Articles are basically the words which specify a noun. There are two types of articles in English grammar : 1] Definite articles and 2] Indefinite articles.

A An The Articles in English Grammar

Let us explore them in detail.

1. Definite article : the

  • the is the only definite article in English Grammar. It can be used before singular as well as plural nouns. 
  • It is used mainly to specify any specific object or thing or person.


I want the book.

Here the speaker is talking about the specific book only and not about any other book.


He was in the shop. (the specific shop)

My mother liked the saree. (the specific saree)

Himesh got the box. (the specific box)

  • Article the is also used before the nouns which are unique in this universe. That means it can be used before nouns of countries, states, oceans, seas, planets, stars, streets, mountains etc.


the earth

the sun

the moon

the Red Fort

the Taj Mahal

the Pacific Ocean

Also Read : Regular and Irregular Verbs

  • Article the is used for adjectives in superlative degree also.


the tallest

the strongest

the cleverest

the most effective

the most beautiful

the most powerful

  • Article the can be used before uncountable nouns.


the water

the milk

the money

the soil

the air

the petrol

the floor

Use of article ‘the’ in sentences

  • I went to the market.
  • He was the boy whom I met yesterday.
  • The Mount Everest is the topmost mountain in the world.
  • The Earth is oval.
  • My mother was in the cake class.
  • John would be the best boy.
  • The air is cool today.
  • The soil is rich in humus.
  • Care for the baby.
  • Be the most wonderful person in your city.

2. Indefinite Articles : a, an

  • a and an are referred as indefinite articles. They are used before singular nouns only. They are called indefinite because they refer to any general object or person unlike definite article.
  • Article a is used before the nouns which start with consonant or a word beginning with a consonant sound.


a boy

a car

a towel

a bath

a flower

a user

a university

Here the words ‘user’ and ‘university’ though start with a vowel, they are pronounced like a consonant.

  • Article an is used before the nouns which start with vowel or a word beginning with a vowel sound.


an egg

an office

an umbrella

an apple

an hour

an honour

Here, the words ‘hour’ and ‘honour’ though start with a consonant, we pronounce them like a vowel.

  • For the noun which is modified by an adjective, the choice between a and an depends on the initial sound of the adjective that immediately follows the article:

afallen apple

anunusual track 

  • In a paragraph whenever any singular noun comes first time, it is modified with article a or an but when the same word appear repeatitively in the same paragraph then it is modified with article the.


I found a pen in the shelf. I was working with my father so I was badly needed my pen. I was unable to find it. But the pen was in shelf.

Final Words on A An The Articles in English Grammar 

There are two types of articles in English Grammar – Definite and Indefinite.

the is the definite article.

a and an are indefinite articles.

Click here for Grammar Worksheet on Articles

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