Need Help?

Get in touch with us


Uses of Articles

Grade 4
Sep 1, 2022

‘A’ and ‘an’ are called indefinite articles. ‘A’ precedes nouns which begin with a consonant sound. ‘An’ precedes nouns which begin with a vowel sound


A pen   

A bag 

An egg  

An information 


Indefinite Articles (a, an) 

Read the sentences given below: 

  • Can you give me ‘a’ pen? 
  • I bought ‘an’ umbrella yesterday. 

From the above sentences, we cannot understand which ‘pen’ or ‘umbrella’ are being spoken of. All we can understand is that they are just ‘a pen’ and ‘an umbrella’. This is because they are followed by ‘a’ and ‘an’ in the given sentences respectively.  

Therefore, ‘a’ and ‘an’ are called as indefinite articles. They are called so because we they give us a sense of the noun that is being spoken of in general without specifying which particular one it is. 

So if we say: 

  • I want to buy ‘a car’, it means the person simply wants to buy any car. 
  • Can you get me ‘an apple’? the person is asking to have an apple that is brought from anywhere. 

Other examples would be: 

  • A country– it can be any country. 
  • An English book– it can be any English book. 

Points to be noted: 

‘An’ precedes words like ‘hour’, ‘heir’, ‘honest man’, etc where the consonant letters which begin the words are silent. 

Similarly, ‘a’ precedes words like ‘university’, ‘one dollar coin’, ‘unanimous’, etc, because though the letters which begin the word are vowels, the sound is actually a consonant. 

Definite Article (the) 

‘The’ is the definite article because it points out to the specific person, place or thing that is being spoken of. 

Read the following sentences: 

  • Can you please get me ‘the apple’ that I’ve kept in the refrigerator? 
  • ‘The book’ which I took from the library is missing. 

Here, the speakers are talking about a particular ‘apple’ and ‘book’, ‘languages. 

‘The’ should not be used before names of people and countries

  • ‘The’ Richard- Wrong 
  • Richard- Correct  
  • ‘The’ England- Wrong 
  • England- Correct 

Note: ‘The’ has two pronunciations: 

It is pronounced as “thee” when in precedes a noun which begins with a vowel sound. 


  • the English teacher 
  • the engineer, etc 

It is pronounced as “tha” when it precedes a noun which begins with a vowel sound. 

  • the doctor 
  • the book, etc 


Related topics


Exploring the World of Adjectives: Types, Usage, and Examples

What are Parts of Speech? Parts of speech determine words’ grammatical and semantic position in a sentence. Activity time The parts of speech are nouns, adverbs, conjunctions, pronouns, interjections, adjectives, articles, prepositions, and verbs. Identify the parts of speech of the underlined words in the following sentences. White- Adjective Big- Adjective    Exciting- Adjectives New- […]

Memoir writing

Memoir Writing: Basic Elements, Structures, and Types

Memoir: A memoir is a narrative written from an author’s perspective about a particular facet of his/her own life. ‘Memoir’ word comes from the French word ‘memoire’, which means ‘memory’ or ‘reminiscence’. Example Night: Elie Wiesel gives an account of how he survived his teenage years at Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps during World War […]

Identifying the main idea

Identification of Main Idea in Fiction and Non-fiction

Every story or paragraph or non-fictional text has at least one main idea. The MAIN IDEA is what the text is mostly about. (It is backed up or supported by SUPPORTING DETAILS) Before discussing how to find the main idea, we shall first look at TOPIC. Can you define a topic? A topic can be […]

Writing an Article

Writing an Article: Structure and Essential Tips

What is an article? Structure of Article Writing : Title : Draw the attention of readers with an attractive title and indicate the main topic of the article Introduction : Attract the reader’s attention with a sentence that gives a general presentation of the topic. Main Body : Between these sentences, the body should do […]


Other topics