Usually, when you ask a person “What is an Article?”, the most common reply you’ll get is “a, an and the”. However, you’ll seldom get a proper definition for Article. While “a”, “an” and “the” are definitely types of Articles, a proper definition is as follows:
“An Article is a word used with a noun to indicate its (noun’s) type of reference”.
Depending on the type of reference, Articles can be categorized as
- Definite Articles – When you refer to a particular noun. Example -“The”
- Indefinite Articles – When you refer to any noun. Example – “A”,”An”. As a general rule, nouns starting with vowels (a,e,i,o,u) have the article “An”. Nouns starting with consonants have the article “A”.
I know it’s quite confusing. So, lets understand this with an example.
Lets take another example.You are going out shopping with your girlfriend. Here’s a sample conversation.
Your girlfriend: “I want to buy THE new dress!”
You: “Sure! I want to buy A new jacket, too!”
Here, your girlfriend has already decided which dress she is going to buy. She might have seen it earlier and is referring to that particular dress. So, she uses “THE” to refer to that particular dress. However, you have not yet decided which jacket you’re going to buy. You’ll visit the shop and try various jackets before you decide. You just want to buy a jacket and doesn’t have any particular jacket in mind. So, you use “A” to specify that you want to buy a jacket without referring to anything in particular.