Use of Definite-and-Indefinite-ArticlesUse of Definite-and-Indefinite-Articles (A, AN, THE)
Home ยป Grammar ยป Use of Definite and Indefinite Articles in English

Articles, in the English language, are three: A, AN, THE used with nouns like adjectives. But they show differences between specific and non-specific things. But they are very short words that categorized into two groups:

  1. Definite Articles = A and AN are used for objects that are singular but non-specific
  2. Indefinite Article = The = is used with specific objects.
Definite and Indefinite Articles
Definite and Indefinite Articles

Indefinite Articles Examples

Indefinite Articles are two โœŒ = A, AN = used before singular objects (things, people, places) that are not specific.


  • A goat is an animal.
  • A city is an urban area.
  • A soldier is an armed person.
  • An urn โšฑ is a jar.
  • An egg ๐Ÿฅš is like an oval shape.
  • An inkpot is an ink container.

Definite Article Examples

Definite Article is one= The = used before specific objects (things, people, and places) which can be singular or plural, countable or uncountable, but they are particular. The = is used for specific objects or objects that both the speaker and listener know.


  • The Holy book ๐Ÿ“™ is The Quran.
  • The position-holder boy ๐Ÿ‘ฆ is Amir.
  • The Japanese policeman ๐Ÿ‘ฎ is vigilant.
  • The Lahore Museum is worth seeing.
  • The ex-secretary is getting old.
  • The sheep ๐Ÿ‘ has much wool over it.

Use of Definite Articles A and AN

Basic Rules for the use of Indefinite Articles = A, AN = depending on the words starting with vowel sound ๐Ÿ”Š or consonant. So, An, = is used with words that begin with vowel sounds whereas A = is used with words beginning with consonant sounds. For example:

No.Consonant SoundsVowel Sounds
1.A baby is smiling โ˜บ.This is an umbrella โ˜”.
2.A phone ๐Ÿ“ฑ is ringing.An honest man ๐Ÿ‘จ is here.
3.A car ๐Ÿš™ is running.An inkpot is lost.
4.A ball โšฝ is swinging.An Oven is smelling.
5.A horse ๐Ÿด is drinking ๐Ÿป.An egg ๐Ÿฅš is broken.
Use of A and An
  1. Indefinite Articles = A and An = are used when the first time we introduce an object and used as synonyms for the sense of one in numerical terms. For example:


  • They bought a computer ๐Ÿ’ป.
  • I saw an elephant ๐Ÿ˜ last night.
  • She bought a bat and a ball โšฝ.
  • Afra asked me a question.
  • My friend gifted me an urnโšฑ.
  • Nobody listens to a fool.
  • A foot is equal to twelve inches.
  • An enemy finds the clue.
  • A chocolate ๐Ÿซ cake ๐ŸŽ‚ likes everyone.

Then, Indefinite Articles = A and An = we use with something unclear or someone unknown to us โš›. For example:

  • One night, ๐ŸŒƒ a thief knocked our door.
  • A John is calling you standing outside.
  • This artwork is made by a country painter.
  • A hawker is selling something.
  • I think itโ€™s a beggar crying loudly.
  • Is there a ground to play cricket๐Ÿฆ—?
  • Do you know a doctor๐Ÿ˜ท nearby?
  • There is an animal coming from the bushes.

Lastly, Indefinite Articles = A and An = are used in the sense of any when one thing represents the whole of its class. For example:

  • A Tom๐Ÿ™€ is fatter than a cat.
  • A horse๐Ÿด knows the way to home.
  • A dog๐Ÿถ is loyal to its owner.
  • A camel๐Ÿซ lift heavy weight.
  • A snake๐Ÿ lives in the grass.
  • An elephant๐Ÿ˜ attracts children.

Use of Indefinite Article = THE

  1. The is used for specific objects (person, place, thing) that both the speaker and listener know or those which are already mentioned or referred to the context earlier. For example:
  • Can you give me the books ๐Ÿ“š on the table?
  • The dog๐Ÿฉ Iโ€™m selling is very loyal to me.
  • I saw the black woman ๐Ÿ‘ฉ braver than you.
  • Letโ€™s go to the city cinema house tonight.
  • The girl๐Ÿ‘ง who was crying ๐Ÿ˜ข forgot the way to her home.
  • The movie๐ŸŽฆ is based on a real-life incident.

2. Definite article = The = is also used with a singular noun when it represents its whole race or class. For example:

  • The horse ๐Ÿด is faithful animal.
  • The parrot is a lovely bird.
  • The camel is king of desert.
  • The actor is always confident.
  • The cook knows the real taste.

3. Besides, definite article = The = is also used with some proper nouns, things, and place names as well as natural objects. For example:

  • Mountains โ›ฐ = The K2, The Himalayas
  • Islands = The Aran Island, The West Indies
  • Deserts = The Thar Desert, The Great Sandy
  • Canals = The canal of Schlemm, The Suez Canal
  • Rivers = The Ravi, The Thames
  • Seas = The Atlantic, The Black Sea
  • The Nature = The Sun, The Moon, The Earth, The Jupiter, etc.

4. The = is also used before plural countries or other plural regions and bodies of water. For example:

  • The Netherlands
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States of America
  • The Irish Republic
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • The Ukraine

5. Then, we also use = The = with the names of some particular books ๐Ÿ“š titles. For example:

  • The Holy Quran
  • The Bible
  • The Iliad
  • The Vedas
  • The Torah

6. We also use Definite article = The = with that proper noun which takes a particular adjective with it. For example:

  • Alexander the Great
  • Akbar the Great
  • The Great Creaser
  • The Bard of Avon Shakespeare

7. Next, we also use Definite article = The = with all the superlative degrees of adjectives. For example:

  • I will eat the sweetest apple ๐Ÿ.
  • You have the darkest eyes ๐Ÿ‘€.
  • The rose ๐ŸŒน is the loveliest flower.
  • Alia is the youngest girl ๐Ÿ‘ง in our class.
  • The most intelligent ๐Ÿง  people will be preferred.

8. Another use of Definite article = The is used before certain adjectives to give a plural meaning. For example:

  • The rich know the ground realities.
  • The poor ๐Ÿค” think for the short term.
  • The class is a group of something.

9. Then, we use Definite article = The = before ordinal numbers. For example:

  • The first-hand โœ experience you have.
  • The second position is for you.
  • The third gender is ignored everywhere.
  • The fourth class is less paid.
  • The ninth grade is very average.

10. Besides, we use Definite article = The = with the comparative degree of adjectives as an adverb. For example:

  • The sweeter you eat, the better it is.
  • The more you love, the marrier it is.
  • The more you give, the more you get.
  • The cooler you drink, the hotter you become.
  • The higher๐Ÿ‘† you go, the lower ๐Ÿ‘‡ oxygen is.

Omission of Articles

  1. First, we omit articles when we talk about non-specific things in plural countable forms generally. For example:
  • It is an age of computer. ๐Ÿ’ป
  • Children like sweets.
  • Gas stations are everywhere nowadays.
  • Telephonesโ˜Ž are being replaced with mobiles. ๐Ÿ“ฑ
  • Storms are raging all over the country.
  • We like mountains โ›ฐ worldwide.
  • Cows and Goats are domestic animals.
  • Fruit and vegetable fulfil most of our needs.
  • Flowers๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒธ are part of the nature.
  • Schools ๐Ÿšธ should also teach basic manners.
  • Gold๐Ÿฅ‡is more expensive nowadays.

2. But do not use articles with abstract nouns. For example:

  • Loyalty is my promise to you.
  • Honesty builds your character.
  • Truth defends itself.
  • Your judgement is correct.
  • Wisdom is gift ๐Ÿ“ฆ of God.
  • Your intelligence level is good.

3. So, we donโ€™t use articles with language words. For example:

  • She speaks French awkwardly.
  • English is understood worldwide.
  • The speakers of Chinese are in billions.
  • Urdu is our national language.
  • Arabic is also the oldest language.

4. Besides, we omit articles with relations names e.g., brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, etc. For example:

  • Mother is boiling milk.
  • Father is running his shop.
  • Brother is studying in the room.
  • Sister is washing her clothes.
  • Aunt is coming to see you.

By Waqas Sharif

Mr. Waqas Sharif is an English Language Teaching (ELT) Professional, Trainer, and Course Instructor at a Public Sector Institute. He has more than ten years of Eng Language Teaching experience at the Graduate and Postgraduate level. His main interest is found in facilitating his students globally He wishes them to develop academic skills like Reading, Writing, and Communication mastery along with Basics of Functional Grammar, English Language, and Linguistics.

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