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Articles: Definite & Indefinite – Grammar Guide

Grade 5
Aug 14, 2023

What is an “Article”?

A brief, monosyllabic word called an article indicates whether a noun is specific or not. Usually, articles come before nouns, and because they are used to talk about nouns, they can be considered adjectives.

Definition of an “Article”

In order to limit or lend definiteness to the application, articles are described as a small group of words or affixes (such as a, an, and the) used with nouns.


English language users frequently employ articles. Thus, it’s critical to understand when to use them and when to avoid doing so. View the following in order to gain a complete understanding of how to use the relevant articles.

Variety of Articles

  1. The three articles “a,” “an,” and “the” are classified into two categories, namely:
  1. The letters “a” and “an” are known as indefinite articles in English, while “the” is known as a definite article.

Definite Article

The definite article “the” is the most important of the three. When referring to something specific or unique, definite articles are utilized. Additionally, it denotes the superlative degree of comparison before plural nouns. Additionally, it can be positioned before collective nouns.

  • For specific things or organizations, a definite article is used. When something is singular, and there is just one of it, it can be indicated using the definite article.
  • When referring to particular items that the speaker and the audience both know the identity of, a definite article is employed.



This is the world’s longest river.

[The definite article indicates the superlative degree of comparison in the preceding sentence.]

  1. They sailed on the Pacific Ocean.

[The Pacific Ocean is the name of a single body of water.]

Indefinite Article

As its name implies, an indefinite article is used to denote an undefined or ambiguous idea. Additionally, it can be used in front of singular nouns. As indefinite articles, “a” and “an” are used frequently.

  • “A” and “an” are called indefinite article. “An” is used before vowels or vowel sounds, whereas “a” is used before consonants or consonant sounds. Indefinite articles serve various functions and are essentially the opposite of definite articles.
  • Things that are not unique are referred to using indefinite articles.
  • In the same way, it is common to refer to something as an idea or notion when using indefinite articles.


  1. Emanuel is a physician. [Emanuel is merely one of the numerous physicians on the globe.]
  2. Germany is a nation. [Germany is one of several nations.]
  3. Give me an envelope, please. [Please hand me any available envelope.]
  4. She is looking for a job, and she was not looking for a specific job.]

Points to keep in mind when using articles:

  1. As you can see below, the terms “university” and “unique” begin with a vowel. However, the initial sound is ‘yu,’ a consonant rather than a vowel. This is why ‘a’ rather than ‘an’ is chosen as the indefinite article.


  1. He always comes out with a unique style.
  2. You will gain much exposure by enrolling at a university.

In the examples given below, even though “MBBS” and “hour” are words containing consonants, “an” is used before each of them. This is so because the letter “m” in the word “MBBS” has an initial vowel sound [em].

The letter “h” is a consonant in the word “hour,” which is silent, giving it a vowel sound “o” at the beginning of the word.


  1. He has an MBBS in his possession.
  2. The journey to the seaport took an hour.

The words that begin with a vowel the article “a” is used rather than “an” because of the consonant sound of “you” and “one”.

Example: One, University, Unique, Uniform, Unit, Eucalyptus, Utensil, Euro, UFO.

For the words that begin with a consonant, “an” is used rather than “a” because the first letter is silent, and the word is pronounced using the second letter, which is a vowel.

Example: Hour, Honest, Hourly, MBA, MBBS, MA, MSc, MMR, M. Com, MLA, NCC, Honorary, X-ray, X-mas.

  1. In some circumstances, you will also need to include the definite article “the” before a common word, for an explanation of how these functions, have a look at the following sentences.


  1. My mother and I are going to a birthday party. The birthday party is held on an open lawn at 9 p.m.
  2. She saw a dog at the corner of the street, and the dog came running to her.

Elan listened to popular music yesterday, and he felt that the music was too slow.



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