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How to Use Definite And Indefinite Articles

In this lesson I am going to tell you how to use definite and indefinite articles. The articles a, an, and the seems easy but important words in English language. These words are used almost in every sentence that you speak or write. Here you will learn about uses of definite and indefinite articles in English, when to use them in your sentences.

How to Use Definite And Indefinite Articles
How to Use Definite And Indefinite Articles

What is an article?
An article is a word which is used to modify a noun, which is a person, place, object, or idea. Therefore in some places people call it an adjective, which is used to describe a noun or pronoun, but articles are used instead to point out or refer to nouns.
There are two types of articles which are used in writing and conversation to point out or refer to a noun or group of nouns: Definite and Indefinite articles. All uses of definite and indefinite articles are explored below.

How to Use Definite And Indefinite Articles

Definite article
‘The’ is called definite article in English.

Uses of definite article “The”

1. We use “the” when talking about something definite or something specific.

  • The love of a mother is the best unconditional love. =Specific love.
  • All we need is love. = Love in general

2. We use “the” when referring to something which has already been mentioned and the listener knows about.

  • We will receive the postcard, as soon as the postman deliverers it.
  • The student requested to postpone the test for Monday.

3. We use “the” when we assume there is just one of something in that place, even if it has not been mentioned before.

  • We will go to picnic in New Murri, but we have to reserve a room in the hotel.
  • Will you tell me where the office of your academy is?

4. We use “the” when we want to refer to people or objects that are unique.

  • They are skydiving in the sky.
  • The Sun rises from the east.

5. We use “the” with adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people.

  • If I were rich, I would give Charity to the poor.
  • The elderly require special attention.

6. We use “the” with decades.

  • It was established from the 2000’s
  • Ali was born in the seventies.

7. We use “the” with class introduced by only.

  • The only person I trust is Hussain.
  • The only food I like is Biryani.

8. We use “the” with proper nouns. Names of geographical areas, rivers, mountain ranges, groups of islands, canals, and oceans.

  • Many persons died, trying climb the Mount Everest.
  • Their ship sank in the Atlantic ocean.

9. We use “the” with countries include the words” republic, “kingdom”, or “ states” in theri names. And similarly with countries that have plural names.

  • My brother lives in the United States.
  • Jawad is from the republic of Ireland.
  • The Netherlands.
  • The Philippines.

10. We use the with the names of families, but not with the names of individuals.

  • We have invited the Jalalis for dinner.
  • The Koshaas are going to the ground with me.

When not to use “The”

1. We do not use “the” with names of countries (except for the special cases above).

  • Pakistan is playing the final with Zimbabwe.
  • They will go to Turkey to spend their vocation.

2. We do not use “the” with the names of languages.

  • English is the most spoken language in the world.
  • Many of my friends want to learn Persian.

3. We do not use “the” with titles combined with names.

  • Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan.
  • Sardar is general Mussa’s cousin.

4. We do not use “the” after the ‘s possessive case.

  • My uncle’s house is in street No 10.
  • His brother’s car was stolen.

5. We do not use “the” with professions.

  • Architecture is not a well-paid career.
  • Teaching is my profession.

6. We do not use “the” with the names of individual mountains, lakes and islands.

  • Chiltan Mountain is very popular in Balochistan.
  • We live in near Hanna Lake.

7. We do not use “the” with most names of towns, streets, stations and airports

  • We live in Hazara Town, Quetta.
  • Can you direct me to Shaheed Yosufi Road?

Indefinite Article

The Words “A and An” are called indefinite article.
Indefinite articles are used when you are talking about a thing in general, not a specific thing.

Uses of indefinite articles
1. We use ‘An’ before singular count nouns beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or vowel sound, remember the noun being referred to is not a specific.

  • Yesterday we saw an elephant in the zoo.
  • She give me an apple.
  • We reach in station an hour ago.

2. We use “A” before singular nouns beginning with a consonant and the noun is new, unknown or introduced to a listener for the first time. Moreover we can use A or An when asking about the existence of something.

  • I have a computer.= Introduced for the first time.
  • Ali is a doctor. = New information to the listener.
  • Is there a dictionary in you phone? Asking about existence.

3. WE use A or An to introduce what type of thing we are asking or talking about.

  • That is a delicious food. Describing the kind of food.
  • Do you live in a beautiful apartment? Asking about the kind of apartment.

4. We cannot use A or AN with plural nouns because A and AN means “one” or “a single”.

  • We saw an elephants in the zoo. Not correct
  • We saw elephants in the zoo. Correct

Indeed uses of definite and indefinite articles are so important for English learners to learn, because when you construct you sentences in speaking and writing you may use one of these words.

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akhlaq April 24, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Excellent exercise for improving English

BISMO April 24, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Thank you Akhlaq!


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