Learn English Online

A AN THE: How to Use Articles in English/ Important Uses and Examples

a an the

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

When we use a noun, we need to know if we should or shouldn’t use an article before it, and if an article is necessary, we have to decide which article to use.

So What are Articles in English?

Generally, articles are words that indicate, specify and limits a noun. There are 3 articles in English, namely a, an, and the. A an the are called articles.

Where Do Articles Come in a Sentence?

The 3 articles come at the beginning of a noun phrase. They are used immediately before a noun, an adjective, or before a combination of an adverb, adjective and a noun.

What Are Examples of Articles in Sentneces?

  • I bought a painting. (noun)
  • I bought a famous painting. (adjective + noun)
  • I bought the most famous painting. (adverb + adjective + noun)
  • I bought the highly expensive painting.


a an the

What Are The Four Articles in English?

The four articles in English are a, an, the, and zero article. The indefinite articles ( a or an ), the definite article ( the ), and no article ( = zero article).

How to Use Articles in English: a an the and zero article.

In this lesson, articles in English grammar (a an the and zero article), you’ll learn the uses of definite and indefinite articles as well as the articles grammar rules. Besides, you will learn when to use no article ( zero article). Enjoy learning the use of articles with examples.

When To Use a or an (a vs an)/ When to use the a and an?

  1. The general rule is that we use a when it comes before a noun starting in a consonant sound, whereas an is used when it precedes a noun starting in a vowel sound.
  • a + consonant sounds (/b/, /d/,/p/, /t/, etc
  • an + vowel sounds (/æ/, /e/, /ɪ/, etc)

A union

An hour

A computer

A university

An email

→  An orange

2. A and an are used with singular countable nouns when we speak about them for the first time:

→  Two people are knocking at the door. A man and a woman.

3. A and an are usually used after the verb “to be” to say what someone/something is:

→ He’s a pilot 

→ she’s an engineer

→ It’s an apple                         

→ It’s a tablet.

4. The article a is used in certain expressions to show how often something is done:

→ We go on holiday once a year. → We study English three times a week.

5.  We use a to mean “one”, with some numbers and fractions.

a hundred

a thousand

a third (1/3)

6. We use a in certain phrases:

a few

a little

a lot …

7.  To refer to people and things in general.

A fly is an insect. (= all flies)

A teacher should be patient. (=all teachers)

8. A or an before h?

Before words that start in h, we use a when the h is pronounced as in:

  • A hut
  • A host
  • A hundred
  • A home
  • A hat

and we use an when the letter h is not pronounced as in: 

  • An hour
  • An honor
  • An honoree

The letter h in the words honor, honoree and hour is not pronounced. For this reason, the article an is used bfore them.

definite article

The Definite Article ‘the’

‘The’ is called definite article. Below is a variety of definite artice examples

What are the 10 use of definite article? 

Here are the 10 uses of definite articles:

  1.  The definite articel ‘the’ is used when the noun is mentioned for a second time or is already known:

→ I have a cat and a dog. The cat’s name is Lucy and the dog’s name is Rex.

→ He has a car and a bicycle. The car is very expensive.

2. The is used with nouns that are unique:

The sun       

 → The moon         

 → The Earth

3. The definite artice is used with names of musical instruments:

→ He plays the piano.           

→  Tom plays the drums.

4. Using the with superlatives:

We use ‘the’ with superaltive adjectives.

→ Nancy is the best friend I have ever had.

→ What is the tallest building in the world?

5- We use the with parts of the day: morning, afternoon, evening:

→In the morning/afternoon/evening.

6.  The is used to talk about something specific:

→ we went to the café which is next to the bank.

→ I want the red jacket, not the black one.

7. The is used with adjectives that are used as nouns to refer to a group of people:

→ The elderly (= old people)

→  The sick (= sick people)

→ The homeless (= people who have no home)

→  The rich (= rich people)

→  The young (= young people)

8. With the names of certain countries:

→ The United States         

→ The United Kingdom

The Netherlands             

 → The Czech Republic …

9. With the names of oceans, seas, and rivers:

The Atlantic                     

→ The red sea               

The Mississippi

10.  With the names of hotels, theatres, museums, and newspapers:

The Hilton                               

The Sheraton 

→  The National Theatre         

The Royal Theatre,

The Natural History Museum     

 The Times     

→ The Newsweek…

No article (zero article)

  1. With plural countable nouns:

Dogs love bones.

→ I usually read newspapers/books.

2. With uncountable nouns:

Chocolate is bad for your teeth.

→ I love milk.

3. With names of countries, cities, towns:

→ He’s from Australia.

→  She lives in London.

→  The conference will take place in New York.

4. With languages:

→ She speaks Russian and English.

→ I’m learning Chinese.

5. With games, sports, and school subjects:

→ My son loves chess.

→ They play tennis twice a week.

→ Maths is his favorite subject.

6. With meals:

Dinner is ready.

→ I had breakfast at 07:00.


Are There Specific Rules to Build Expressions Using Articles or without Articles?

In many set expressions, articles are used or omitted for no apparent reason. Some of these expressions are idiomatic expressions.

There are no specific rules to build expressions with or without articles. You should learn such expressions as chunks.

Here are some examples of set expressions with articles and without articles:

  • Have a drink
  • In a hurry
  • Have a shower.
  • A bit of
  • Do a turn
  • In the blink of an eye
  • Listen to the radio
  • Play the piano
  • Go to the wall
  • In the red
  • In the centre of
  • On the whole
  • In det
  • Out of action
  • On loan
  • Have dinner
  • At first
  • Face to face
  • By heart

This lesson will surely help you learn how to form new words in English.

Articles in English a an the video

Fo rules of articles in English grammar pdf check this

Learn English online with Englishdotcom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts

error: Content is protected !!