English Grammar

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Articles

Read these sentences.


I saw a bird. The bird was sitting in its nest guarding an egg.
The words 'a', 'an' and 'the' are articles.
There are two types of articles - definite and indefinite.

  • 'A' and 'an' are indefinite articles.
  • 'The' is called the definite articles.
ARTICLES-A, AN
A and an mean one. A and an are placed before countable nouns in the singular number.
Examples :
a boy, a bag, an egg, an ant
  • We don't put 'a' or 'an' before uncountable nouns.
Examples :
Give me a sugar. (x)
She has an intelligence. (x)

USES OF 'A'
We use a before words beginning with a consonant sound.
Examples :
1. Reeta is a student.
2. Rohit is a batsman.
  • We also write 'a one-eyed dog' (since o in 'one' is pronounced as w in won- a consonant sound.)
  • We write 'a utensil' (This is because the u in 'utensil' is pronounced as yoo- a consonant sound.)
USES OF 'AN'
We use an before a word beginning with a vowel sound.
Examples :
1. I have an apple for breakfast.
2. I saw an eagle flying.
  • We also write 'an honourable man' (since ho is pronounced as pronounced o- a vowel sound).
Therefore, a is used with countables and singular nouns beginning with consonants sounds and an is used with countables and singular nouns beginning with vowel sounds.

A. Fill in the blanks with 'a' or 'an'.
1. .......... interesting book.
2. .......... one-eyed monster.
3. .......... European friend.
4. .......... honourable judge.
5. .......... intelligent boy.
6. .......... Indian scientist.
7. .......... user-friendly computer.
8. .......... English teacher.



A. Fill inthe blanks with 'a' or 'an'. Put 'x' where neither 'a' nor 'an' is required.
1. Iron is .............. useful metal.
2. Please give me ............. slice of bread with butter.
3. What .............. idea you have in your mind.
4. I have .............. boiled egg for breakfast every morning.
5. On my way to the museum.I met ............. European tourist.
6. Can you give me ............... one hundred rupee note.
7. I love ............. Indian music.
8. Jyoti left ............. hour ago.

ARTICLE-THE
We use 'a' or 'an' when we mean any person or thing.
The is used when we mean a particular person or thing.
Examples :
1. Give me a pen. (any pen)
2. Give me the pen lying on the table. (a particular pen)

C. Fill in the blanks with 'a', 'an', or 'the'. Put 'x' where no article is required.
1. Honesty is ............. great virtue.
2. Kusam arrived ............... hour ago.
3. .............. park in front of our house is huge.
4. I want ............. new doll.
5. .............. doll on the shelf was a gift from mother.
6. .............. river flows into the sea.
7. Teacher has asked us to write ............... essay on our daily life.
8. .............. essay that I will write will have 400 words.

Let us learn something more about 'a', 'an' or 'the'.
  • We use 'a' or 'an' when we speak of a person or thing for the first time. But when we speak of them again, we use 'the'.
Examples :
1. A man came to our school. (We write 'a' before 'man' because he could be any man.)
2. The man wanted to meet our Principal. (Now the man is a particular man, the same man we were talking about in sentence (1.) )
  • At times even when we have not used a noun earlier, it is very clear what we are talking about. In such cases also, we ues 'the'.
Examples :
1. The television is switched on. (We know which television)
2. The window of the bedroom is broken.
(We know which window and which bedroom we are talking about.)
This mean that :
  • A/an is used for speaking of a person/thing for the first time, the is used when we speak of them afterwards.
  • When the speaker and the listener know which person/thing is being talked about, we use the
D. Fill in the blanks with a,an or the.


1. I gave ............. book to Sunny. ............ book is about Sindbad.
2. Niyati bought ............ egg sandwich and ............. bottle of orange juice. ............ sandwich was stale but ........... juice was delicious.
3. They are going to shift to ............. new house. .............. house is near ............. highway.
4. He injured ............. left eye in ............. accident.
5. .............. school organise its annual function in December.
6. .............. one-eyed dogs was barking. ............... dog was also chasing some naughty children.

USES OF 'THE'
(a) 'The' is used with the names of rivers, seas, ocean, mountain ranges.
Examples : the Ganga, the Red Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Himalayas
  • the name of well known buildings
Examples : the India Gate, the Taj Mahal
  • the name of holy books, newspapers.
Examples : the Gita, the Quran, the Statesman
  • the name of trains, ships, aeroplanes
Examples : the Rajdhani Express, the Orient Express
  • the name of some countries
Examples : the United States of America, the United Kingdom
  • we also use the with superlative degrees
Examples : the highest peak, the most intelligent student
  • we use the in such phrases as the fast, the last, the next, the only
Examples : He is the only son.
That was the last time we met.

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