Articles - Introduction

What is an article?

Basically, an article is an adjective. Like adjectives, articles modify nouns.
English has two articles: the and a/an
The is used to refer to specific or particular nouns;
A/an is used to modify non-specific or non-particular nouns. We call the the definite article and a/an the indefinite article.

the = definite article
a/an = indefinite article

For example:
 If I say, "Let's read the book," I mean a specific book.
If I say, "Let's read book," I mean any book rather than a specific book.

Here's another way to explain it: The is used to refer to a specific or particular member of a group. For example, "I just saw the most popular movie of the year." There are many movies, but only one particular movie is the most popular. Therefore, we use the.

"A/an" is used to refer to a non-specific or non-particular member of the group. For example, "I would like to go see a movie." Here, we're not talking about a specific movie. We're talking about any movie. There are many movies, and I want to see any movie. I don't have a specific one in mind.
 

Summary

What is an article?

Basically, an article is an adjective. Like adjectives, articles modify nouns.
English has two articles: the and a/an
The is used to refer to specific or particular nouns;
A/an is used to modify non-specific or non-particular nouns. We call the the definite article and a/an the indefinite article.

the = definite article
a/an = indefinite article

For example:
 If I say, "Let's read the book," I mean a specific book.
If I say, "Let's read book," I mean any book rather than a specific book.

Here's another way to explain it: The is used to refer to a specific or particular member of a group. For example, "I just saw the most popular movie of the year." There are many movies, but only one particular movie is the most popular. Therefore, we use the.

"A/an" is used to refer to a non-specific or non-particular member of the group. For example, "I would like to go see a movie." Here, we're not talking about a specific movie. We're talking about any movie. There are many movies, and I want to see any movie. I don't have a specific one in mind.
 

Previous