Use And Misuse Of Articles

Most people do mistakes in writing correct articles to their written content, even the press and media does lots of mistakes in using appropriate articles in their content. Today let’s see where to use and where not use a correct form of article.

What Is an Article?

An (ART) icle is a word that is used either as prefix/suffix to the noun to give the grammatical definiteness/beauty to a sentence.

What Are the Different Kinds Of Articles?

The -> Definite Article

A, An -> Indefinite Article

When To Use A Definite Article – ‘The’?

A definite article denotes a person/thing under discussion/already mentioned/referring to

  • When a speaker assumes that the opponent knows whom he is talking about/referring to about then a definite article is used.
  • We also use ‘The’, when we are refereeing to the person in the same sentence or in the previous sentence.

Eg: The People know which is the correct media (referring to particular people and particular media)

People know which is the correct media (General people – not particular but their specific media).

Eg: Give me the book (which book is specific).

     Give me a book (which book to be given? Not specific!).

  • ‘The’ is also used while referring unique nouns.

Eg:- the boy, the moon

But ‘the’ is not used while referring about uncountable/plural nouns

Eg: Cars

  • It is also used while referring to particular date, ‘the’- is used.

Eg: on the 24th of may

  • But while referring to particular day in the week, ‘A’ is used.

Eg: She was born on a Friday

  • ‘The’ definite article is also used to refer specific class.

Eg: The Chowdary Saab used to take eggs from my shop

  • Use it to mention the time in a day

Eg: In the morning/evening/afternoon

  • Use the with the superlatives.

Eg: The biggest, the tallest.

  • With the names of unique objects

Eg: The Sun, The Moon, The Internet

  • With the surnames

Eg: The Guptas, The Cholas

When To Use The Indefinite Articles – A and An

Indefinite articles, here the speaker will not talk about whom he is referring to. Literally, the meaning of both articles A, An is the same = One. They are only used with singular countable nouns.

  • Used with singular & countable nouns that are indefinite
  • Used with nouns, that is not particular or identifiable to the listener.

Aused before a word with a consonant sound, doesn’t matter if the word starts with a vowel letter.

AnUsed before a word with a vowel sound, doesn’t matter if the word starts with a consonant letter.

  • Also, if the next word starts with a consonant sound the article A is used.
  • Used it while mentioning something for the first time.
  • Used it to mean ‘per’, ‘for’ and ‘each.’
  • Used after ‘there is’ in a sentence (when referring to a countable noun).
  • ‘some’ is used as a functional equivalent to a/an/the with plural and uncountable nouns.

Some Blind Tips

  • In English grammar, ‘The’ is the most used word. 7% of any English write-up will have the article ‘The’.
  • After ‘The’, we mostly use ‘An’.

Because English grammar is as such where most of its sentences or phrases need the above two articles to give clarity to its sentences.

  • Always use articles before names of rivers, seas, and oceans.
  • Always use before deserts, forests, gulfs.
  • Before professions – A doctor, An Engineer, A lawyer
  • Used before descriptive adjectives.

Eg:- She is a beautiful girl!

  • Used to refer one/each/per
  • Before determiners

Don’t Use Articles In Below Circumstances

  1. Articles are not used in the noun phrases that contain other determiners (this, that, some, a few).
  2. Generally, we don’t use with pronouns (he, she, nobody, they, them, somebody).

But we use it with certain pronouns.

Eg: Why are you reading the book

  • In Signboards, labels, notes, headlines, articles are generally omitted and some function words (any auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, pronouns, particles or pro sentences) were replaced.
  • In some noun phrases, no article/article equivalents are used, they are called zero article sentences, but they are normally considered as informal sentences.

Eg: I don’t have any objections, I want some money -> I don’t have objections, I want money.

  • Before proper nouns
  • Before plural nouns
  • Before uncountable nouns
  • Before real nouns
  • Before names of meals breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • Before materials
  • Names of people,
  • Names of most countries,
  • With names of oceans, seas, rivers, and canals.
  • Sports such as soccer, football, and basketball.
  • Languages – Telugu, English, and Kannada
  • Academic subjects – science, social, Mathematics
  • With compass directions

E.g. They went towards east. (But not to the east)

To all the above rules and regulations for proper usage of articles, there are some exceptions for every above rule, where some times you have to use it and sometimes not. Which is a very difficult task to remember all of them…(will explain all those exceptions in the upcoming articles).

For now, 70% of your work will be done, if you know the above set of rules of articles usage.

-E.Hemachandra Prasad

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