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Usage of 'articles' in English Grammar

An article in English grammar is a word that is used before a noun to tell us more about a noun and hence articles are considered adjectives.  Articles are of two types - Definite articles and Indefinite articles. Mainly there are three articles in usage in English grammar and these are: A, An and The.

Indefinite articles
Articles a and an are the indefinite articles as these are used to tell about noun in general and are not used for specific nouns. For example: when we want to tell about one book we say a book. Similarly if we want to say about one apple in general we say an apple.  Here the nouns book and apple are general and are not specific.

Rules for the usage of indefinite articles
  • A is used for the nouns that start with a consonant (other than vowels a e i o u). Example a book, a basket, a house etc.  
  • A is used for the nouns that start with a vowel (a e i o u) but the pronouncation starts with a consonant sound. Example a university (here though u is a vowel yet the first letter of the word sounds like a consonant y hence article a is used and not an. 
  • Similarly an is used for nouns that start with a vowel. For example an apple, an orange, an umbrella etc.
  • An is also used for nouns that start with a consonant but the first letter sounds like a vowel. For example an hour (h is a consonant but it sounds a
  • Note that the articles a and an are used for singular nouns only.
Definite articles
When we want to speak of a particular book or a particular apple, then we use the definite article The which specifies about the particular book or the apple. For example The book or The apple when you want to mention of a specific book or thing.

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