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Learning Objectives
After this lesson students, will be able to:

 define an article
 identify a definite and indefinite article
 choose the proper type of article for a given noun

What is an article?

An article is a word that is used before a noun to show whether or not that suggests a
person or thing specifically or generally.

Types of articles

I nde
n ite
There are three articles in English: a, an, and the. A and an are called Indefinite Articles
because they represent one of the kinds.

I saw a cat.

A man was biting an apple.

‘The’ is known as the Definite Article. It is used when we refer to a specific person or thing.

The book I bought yesterday is missing.

We use ‘a’ before a countable noun that starts with a consonant sound.

My uncle sold a car. He is a union leader. He goes to a university.

We killed a ewe. She is a US citizen.

We use ‘an’ before a countable noun which starts with a vowel sound.

I have an idea. Write an L. She wrote an SMS. It is an X-ray machine.

She is an heir. We will meet in an hour.


Indefinite articles—‘a’ or ‘an’ must be used on the basis of sounds of the words not letters.
Although a, e, i, o, u are called vowel letters, they sometimes make consonant sounds.

Indefinite articles are used in the following situations.

a. In the sense of ‘one’:

I have bought a laptop.

b. With the meaning ‘each’:

My salary has increased by Rs 200 a month.

c. With certain numerical expressions:

a dozen marbles, a thousand years, a million dollars, a couple of pencils

d. When we refer to a person, whose name we use with a title, is unknown to us:

A Mr Limbu wants to meet you.

A Professor Rai wants to propose the vote of thanks.


Indefinite Article is not used

a. When the noun is uncountable:

Our beds are made of iron.

b. When a noun is the name of a meal:

We had supper at nine o’clock.

c. Since there is no plural of the indefinite article, ‘some’ or ‘any’ is used as its

I just ate an apple. She didn’t eat any apples

d. With names of diseases:

He died of coronavirus disease two weeks ago.

Exercise A

Complete the following sentences by writing the correct article, ‘a’ or ‘an’. If articles
are not needed, write an X.

1. Ceylon is _________ island.

2. My uncle is ________ MBBS graduate. a pic of an island

3. We have formed ______ union of teachers.

4. Minakshi is ________ one-eyed person.

5. Ananta is _________ only child of his parents.

6. She is __________ honour to this teaching profession.

7. Drink ________ milk every day to be strong.

8. My father used to give me __________ one rupee-note as pocket money.

9. Do you want to read ________ poetry?

10. It is ___________ unicorn.

Definite Articles are used in the following conditions.

Conditions for ‘the’ Examples

How was the book?

a. When the noun is known to the reader
and listener.

The moon is shining brightly.

b. When there is only one in existence:

the Pacific, the Caribbean, the Nile, the

c. Before oceans, seas, rivers, deserts, etc: Sahara

My family stay at The Everest Hotel.

e. With some hotels as its original names:

She is the last one to submit the task.

f. Before ordinal numbers which make
the nouns definite:
I have to interview the laziest student.
g. With superlative degrees of adjectives
which make the nouns definite:

The next question is difficult.

h. ‘Next’ and ‘Last’ particularised things:

i. When ‘the’ with a singular countable The cow gives us milk.

noun represents a whole class of [All types of cows found on earth]

j. When we mean the entire community: The poor need to be helped. (all poor

the Bible, the Vedas, the Quran, etc.

k. Before the names of holy books:

l. Before plural proper names that The Chinese are helpful.

suggest nationalities:

m. With internal parts of the body like: the brain, the heart, the head, etc.

in the morning, on the day before, on the

n. Before certain expressions of time: previous day, on the following day, the week
before last, the week after next

o. Before the names of inventions: the mobile, the laptop, the Internet

We don’t use ‘the’ for the following conditions:

a. If the noun suggests a specific name of a person, animal, place,

thing, games, etc.:

She lives in X Nepal. He plays X basketball.

b. If the acronym is pronounced as a word:

X NELTA is organising a workshop for teachers.

c. When the noun + number come:

My English lesson is in X room 6 on the second floor.

Exercise 2

Fill in the blanks with ‘a’, ‘an’, or ‘the’ wherever necessary. If no articles are required, put an

1. _________ sun rises in _______ east.

2. The doctor says it is _______ hopeless case.

3. Please get a pound of _______ sugar from ___________ nearest grocer.

4. ________ rich do not donate even a single penny.

5. What did _________ UN say?

6. Laxmi Prasad Devkota was _______ great poet.

7. My uncle died of __________ cancer.

8. Simple loves to play __________ table tennis.

9. ___________ Japanese are very hardworking.

10. What is he doing in _______ Birtamod?