“A” and “AN” – are indefinite articles and indicate general reference.
– Indefinite articles are not used with mass nouns like jewelry.
A jewelryis a sound investment) (right: Jewelry is a sound investment)
– are singular in form and cannot be used with plural noun
“THE” – is a definite article and indicates specific reference.
– it may be used with both singular and plural nouns.
Examples: An illustration will make your point more understandable. The illustration he presented did not make the matter more understandable.
“A” – is used when the following noun begins with a consonant.
Examples: - a book - a towel - a total failure - a screaming child - a football player - a wicked form of punishment
“A” – is used in front of vowels when their pronunciation sounds like you.
Examples: - a European - a unit - a university
“AN” – is used with nouns that begin with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u).
Examples: - an apple - an inquiry - an indefinite answer - an oval-shaped table - an invitation tournament - an inhumane form of punishment
“AN” – is used in front of a silent h because judging only by sound.
Examples: - an hour - an honor - an herb
- If the noun is modified by an adjective, the choice between a and an depends
on the initial sound of the adjective that immediately follows the article:
Examples: - a broken egg - an unusual problem- a European county (sounds like 'yer-o-pi-an, begins with
consonant "y" sound)
- The indefinite articles are also used to indicate membership in a profession, nation, or religion.
Examples: - I am a teacher. - Patrick is an Irishman. - Joe is a practicing Buddhist.
- Abstract nouns like “justice” and “independence” do not require indefinite articles.
wrong: They are looking for
ajustice. right: They are looking for justice.
“THE” – is used with mass nouns for specific reference.
Example: The jewelry was impounded by the police as evidence.
“THE” – is NOT used with non-countable nouns referring to something in a general sense.
(no article) Coffee is a popular drink. (no article) Japanese was his native language. (no article) Intelligence is difficult to quantify.
“THE” – is used with non-countable nouns that are made more specific by a limiting modifying phrase or clause.
Examples: - The coffee in my cup is too hot to drink. - The Japanese he speaks is often heard in the countryside. - The intelligence of animals is undeniable.
"THE" - is used when noun refers to something unique. Examples: 1. The white house 2. The theory of relativity 3. The 2001 national budget
Note: Some geographical uses of "the". Do not use the before: - names and countries (Italy, Mexico, Bolivia) except the Netherlands and the US. - names of cities, towns or states (Seoul, Manitoba, Miami). - names of street (Washington Blvd., Main St.). - names of lakes and bays (Lake Erie) except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes. - names of mountains (Mount Everest) except with ranges of mountains like the Rockies or unusual names like Matterhorn. - names of continents (Europe, Australia etc...). - names of islands (Hundred Islands, Maui, Key West) except with Island chains like the Aleutians, the Hebrides, or the Canary Islands. Do use "the" before: - names of rivers, oceans and seas (the Nile, the Pacific). - points on the globe (the Equator, the North Pole). - geographical areas (the Middle East, the West). - deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas (the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula)