Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Use of Articles

Articles are very important words that are sometimes referred to as Demonstrative Adjective because they do the work of adjectives. We cannot write English without having to use Articles in our sentences.

For example, we cannot write :
(a) There is car at garage.

We would have to rewrite the above sentence like this.
(b) There is a car at the garage.

There are three Articles : a, an, and the.

1. Indefinite Article
and an are called Indefinite Articles because they do not clearly define or tell us anything about the person or thing that is spoken of.

example : - I saw a boy. (means-one boy or no particular boy)

The Indefinite Articles a and an must always be put before a singular countable noun.
The Indefinite Articles an is used before a singular countable noun that begins with a vowel sound.

Examples : an apple, an elephant, an island, an orange, an umbrella, an honest person, an hour.

It will be noticed that although honest and hour start with consonant h we use an because the h is silent. Hour is pronounced OUR, therefore it has an 'o' sound,hence we say an hour.

Exception : a university student, a useful animal, a European, a uniform, a unit.

2. Definite Article
The Definite Article The should be used in the following ways.

2.1 When we speak of a particular person or thing that is already known.
Ex : I gave him the book you lent me. (Here, the stands for a particular book)

2.2 The should be used before the names of rivers, seas, oceans, mountain ranges, groups of
islands, gulfs, natural bodies.
Ex : the Thames, the Pacific Ocean, the Himalayan mountains, the Gulf of Mexico, the sun,
the moon, the earth.

2.3 The should be used before the names of ships, important buildings, cinemas, hotels,
Ex : the Titanic, the City Hall, the 21 Cinema, the Semanggi Plaza, the Senayan Sport Hall.

2.4 The should be used before Superlative Adjectives.
Ex : the smallest boy, the most beautiful girl, the best picture, the first prize.

2.5 The is also used when we speak about a Noun in a general way or when a Singular Noun is
meant to represent a whole class : all.
Ex : The elephant is a useful animal. (meaning all types of elephants)
The tiger is a fierce animal. (meaning all tigers)