Articles in English grammar :

A complete analysis

The word which is used to indicate the definiteness or indefiniteness of a noun is called article. Articles precede nouns and noun-equivalent words to express nouns’ definiteness and indefiniteness.


A man from New York was doing an industrial job in London. One day he entered into a hotel for launch. A hotel boy came to the man with a menu list. The man could not pick any items from the menu list. So, the man left the hotel.

In the upper passage, all the bold and italic letters are articles.

There are two types of articles

1.    Indefinite article

2.    Definite article

Indefinite article definition and examples

 ‘A’ and ‘An’ refer to indefinite person or thing, so they are indefinite articles.


A woman is crying.

Here ‘A’ (article) introduces us to a woman and implies that the person is non-specific.

An apple contains malic acid.

Similarly, here ‘An‘ (article) introduces us to an apple and implies that the thing is non-specific.

Use of indefinite article a and an

1) A/an goes only with a singular countable noun.

Example: He gives me a file.

2) When we first mention something in a story, the noun precedes a or an.

But when the same thing is mentioned again, the noun has the.


I introduced him with a man in the office. The man was a new employee.

3) A/an + Quantifing Noun + of + ( Count noun / Non- count noun)

He has a great deal of money.

He has a good deal of money.

He has a small amount of money.

He gave me a little amount of milk.

4) Many + a/an + singular noun………..

Many a student was present in the class.

Many a boy gives the answer to my question.

5) Such + a/an + singular noun………..

 I have never seen such a man like you.

6) Use of a/an in exclamatory sentence

What + a/an + adjective + noun + NP + verb…. !

What a nice gift it is !

What an interesting person she was!

The use of a/an before words depending on pronunciation

Articles in English grammar

Definite article definition, and example

“The’ refers to a definite person or thing, so it is the definite article.

The definite article “the” is used before a noun to indicate that the identity of that noun is known to the reader.


The snatcher was caught red-handed.

Here, the snatcher is a specific person.

Rules of using article ‘the’

1) ‘The’ sits before the name of river, sea, bay, ocean, mountain range.

For example, “The Himalayas”, “The Alps”, “The Atlantic Ocean”, The Amazon, etc.

2) When any unique object is meant, it is preceded by ‘the’.

For example, “the sun”, “the moon”. “the earth”, the east, the west, etc.

3) Religious texts, newspapers, musical instruments are preceded by ‘the’.

For example, The Quran, The Daily Ittefaq, The New York Times, etc.

4) Ordinal number is preceded by ‘the’ when it is in the letter.

For example, The First, The second, etc.

5) ‘The’ sits before the meaningful geographical name.

For example,  “The U.S.A” , “The Middle East”

6) ‘The’ precedes the name of the race or community.

For example, “The English”, “The rich”, “The poor”, “The Muslims.

7) ‘The’ sits before the name of the date.

For example, The 26th March.

8) ‘The’ sits before the adjective of superlative degree.

The best boy, The most important topics.

9) ‘The’ sits before the title. For example, The President, The rebel poet. The prime minister.

10) ‘The’ precedes the adjective to denote any class of Common Noun.

The poor, The rich, The virtues. etc.

11) If there is an adjective before the Proper Noun, ‘the’ sits before the adjective.

For example, The great poet.

12) ‘The’ sits in the structure of the noun phrase,

The + Noun + of + Noun. For example,

The president of Bangladesh. , The book of John

13) Adjective Noun Phrase is preceded by ‘the’.

For example, The National Zoo.

14) ‘The’ precedes the Comparative degree to mean as much as possible.

  For example, the more you read the more you learn.

15) When Common Noun or adjective means abstract idea, then ‘The’ sits before that Common Noun or adjective.

For example, The mother rose in her.

Uses of zero article

Article (a/an/the) does not precede the following topics:

1) Names of meals. For example- Diner, Breakfast, Supper, Lunch,

2) Names of Villages, City, State and Country, Sunset, Sunrise, etc.

3) Names of languages For example- English, Bangla, Hindi, Tamil, etc.

4) Allah, God, Heaven, Paradise and Hell, Man or Woman, Mankind, God, Father, Mother, Unique, Universal, Humanity, Home,  Each, every, possessive adjective, diseases, Fever,  Plague, etc, Exception – The gout, The mumps, The measles, etc.

5) Proper Noun, Plural Common noun For example- Cows gives us milk. , Material Noun, Abstract Noun,

6) Sports name. For example – Cricket, Football etc,

7) Name of Season For example – summer, winter, etc,

8) Night, Day, Morning, Evening, etc.

9) ‘Article’ does not precede  Continents, towns, and streets. For example-
“Africa”, “New York”, “Church Street”.

10) Uncountable nouns do not precede ‘a’ or ‘an’. If they are mentioned specifically,   ‘the’ sits before them.

11) ‘The’ does not sit before the word school, college, university, hospital, market, etc. to mean the general purpose of going to those places.

Example: The students go to school.

But ‘the’ sits before the words school, college, university, hospital, market, etc. to mean going for a different purpose. Example: My father went to the college to meet the principal.

12) ‘The’ does not precede the name of the road, avenue, park. But if the word ‘road’ is mentioned at the end of the road name, it is preceded by ‘the’.

Example:  I bought a shop in Park Street. I bought a shop in the Station road. 

13) ‘The’ does not precede any ‘part of speech’ except Noun.

14) ‘The’ does not sit between Adjective and Noun.

 (Adj_×__Noun ) Example:  honest × man


Articles in English grammar Articles in English grammar

Related term :

What is Noun?


Adjective definition and example

Types of verb

Right form of verb