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Determiners are used before nouns.

They help to describe quantity and identify which thing or things you are talking about. Examples of determiners are a, the, some, many, much and these. A, an and the are known as Articles.

INDEFINITE ARTICLE
A or an is called the Indefinite Article, because it usually leaves indefinite the person or thing spoken of. It refers to one, so it can only be used before a singular, countable noun (e.g. a horse, an umbrella). In a sentence you have to know when to use a/an.
Everyone wants to get a job after he or she graduates. (A job means any job an does not refer to something specific or special.)

You use a when the noun you are referring to begins with a consonant (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y or z), for example, "a city", "a factory", and "a hotel". You use an when the noun you are referring to begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) Pronunciation changes this rule. It's the sound that matters, not the spelling. If the next word begins with a consonant sound when we say it, for example, "university" then we use a. If the next word begins with a vowel sound when we say it, for example "hour" then we use an. We say "university" with a "y" sound at the beginning as though it were spelt "youniversity". So, "a university" IS correct. We say "hour" with a silent h as though it were spelt "our". So, "an hour" IS correct.

The Indefinite Article is used: In its original numerical sense of one Twelve inches make a foot. In the vague sense of a certain A Kishore Kumar (=a certain person named Kishore Kumar) is suspected by the police. In the sense of any, to single out an individual as the representive of a class A pupil should obey his teacher. To make a common noun of a proper noun A Daniel come to judgement! (A Daniel = a very wise man )

DEFINITE ARTICLE
The is called the Definite Article, because it normally points out some particular person or thing. It can be used with countable (singular and plural) and uncountable nouns. The Definite Article the is used: To talk about things that we have mentioned before. I saw a dog chasing a cat. The cat ran up a tree but the dog could not climb the tree.

To refer to something specific (answers the question, which one?) He didnt like the shirt I gave him. Which shirt? The shirt I gave him. When it is clear from the situation which person or thing we mean. I got into a taxi. The driver asked me where I wanted to go. Which driver? The driver of the taxi that I got into. When there is only one of its kind The sun is a hot ball of fire. The earth is round. Before a title or position where the persons name is not mentioned. He greeted the Queen.

Before a superlative This is the biggest pumpkin I have ever seen. Before name of places or proper nouns the Pan Pacific Hotel, the National Museum, the Kinabatangan River Before ordinal numbers She is the third child in the family. Before musical instruments I can play the piano. Before special events. Only the best athletes can compete in the Asian Games. With some common expressions which have a general meaning. I enjoy going for long walks in the country. Before names with of The University of Malaya is situated in Kuala Lumpur.

OMISSION OF THE ARTICLE


The article is omitted: When the noun is plural and it refers to something in general. Bats are blind creatures. When the noun is uncountable and it refers to something in general. Plants need water to make food. Before names of people Sarah and Jim are my neighbours. Before continents Is Asia the largest continent? With names of towns Shah Alam is beautiful and clean. With transportation (with the preposition by) I usually go to work by bus but sometimes I go by taxi.

Before names of games He can play tennis and badminton very well. Before languages I can speak Malay, Chinese, Japanese and French. Before names of roads Jalan Batu and Jalan Kayu are closed to traffic today. Before meals She had fried rice for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner.

REPETITION OF THE ARTICLE


If I sayI have a black and white cat. I mean a cat that is partly black and partly white. But if I sayI have a black and a white cat, I mean two cats, one black and the other white. Hence, when two or more adjectives qualify the same noun, the Article is used before the first adjective only; but when they qualify different nouns, expressed or understood, the Article is normally used before each adjective.

Compare: The Secretary and Treasurer is absent. The Secretary and the Treasurer are absent.
The first sentence clearly indicates that the posts of Secretary and Treasurer are held by one person. The repitition of the article in the second sentence indicates that the two posts are held by two diffirent persons. Hence we see that when two or more connected nouns refer to the same person or thing, the Article is ordinarily used before the first thing only, but when two or more connected nouns refer to different persons or things, the Article is used before each.

We may either say: The third and the fourth chapter or The third or fourth chapters In expressing a comparison, if two nouns refer to the same person or thing, the Article is used before the first noun only, as: - He is a better mechanic than clerk - He is a better poet than novelist But if they refer to different persons or things, the Article must be used with each noun, as: - He is a better mechanic than clerk (would make) - He would make a better statesman than a philosopher