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It is a form word and has a lexico grammatical meaning
that of definiteness
It has invariable forms: a /an : a book, an apple and
is placed in front of the noun/noun equivalents: a table, a red book
Classification of Articles:
I Definite Article
II Indefinite Article
- its forms are : a/an : a book, a boy; an ice cream, an apple
it is used with nouns in the Singular only
- it indicates that the object denoted is one of the whole class,
no specification of its individual features is given:
Give me a pencil! (any will do)
- a noun determined by it may get a descriptive attribute:
a woman with the black hair; an interesting book, etc.
- its form is the both for the Sing. and Plural :the girl(s); the apple(s);
- it pronounced differently /ti/ apple , / / book
- sometimes it takes the value of the demonstrative pronoun:
Give me the book from the bed! (that one )
- with the uncountable nouns it marks a limited quantity:
The water in the glass is cool.
Absence of the Article
- articles may be omitted for the sake of conciseness in newspaper headings, stage remarks, telegrams.
Use of Articles with different Classes of Nouns
Proper Names : NO Article is used :John,
BUT 1) names of persons accompanied by Indefinite Article, meaning a certain of, one of: He is a Forsyte
both articles are used in front of names of persons when they are used
as common nouns:
He has the humor of a Dickens.
He is the Byron of his age.
3) names of persons in the Plural meaning the whole fam
Here are the Browns (all the members of the famil
4) names of persons used with Definite Article when preceded by an
attribute expressing state, mood, or a permanent characteristic:
the impatient John, the immortal Shakespeare
NO Article when the attribute is expressed by one of the adjectives:
young, old, little, poor, dear, honest pretty, lazy, silly : poor John,
lazy Mary, dear Bob
5) names of persons used with Definite Article when theyare modified by a limiting attribute even if they are preceded by one of the above
the poor Bob of his youth,
the Mr. Smith whom I know
6)when a personal name is preceded by a noun denoting state,
speciality, profession, occupation not used as title,the whole
combination is preceded by Definite Article
the girl Mary, the poet Byron, the composer Mozart
BUT most English titles and some foreign ones have NO Article
Queen Ann, King Richard, Captain Scott, Monsieur Laporte
NO Article with the following names:
names of towns:
names of towns having a geographical or historical
compound nouns of places, buildings, monuments,
the first part being a proper name:
names of streets may/ may not get an article:
6) names of months and days: May, June, July
when they get a descriptive attribute, they get an
Indefinite Article: I went there on a Wednesday.
names of seasons when the nature / season is expressed
BUT with Article when a certain period of the year is marked,
mostly with the preposition in, during :
winter was coming, in (the) autumn, during (the) winter,
WITH Definite Article
names of oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, straits, channels,
the Atlantic Ocean, the
the Thames, the English Channel, the
- when the words lake, loch, lough precede the
proper names: Lake Leman, Loch
- when the names of the river are part of a compound noun
name contains an of phrase:
the City of
- when the Saxon Genitive is in the structure:
St. Helen’s Island, St. Michel’s Mount
names of chains of mountains: the
- with single mountain peaks:
BUT some exceptions: the
names of groups of islands: the
names of deserts : the Sahara, the
names of provinces: the Ruhr, the
names of capes : the
- when the noun cape precedes the proper name:
names of places, buildings, monuments which
do not contain proper names : the Tower, The City,
names of cardinal points: the North, the East
- when used adverbially: to sail north
proper name resulted from an adverbial phrase:
the Tate (the Tate Gallery)
Other Proper Names with Article:
names of ships, hotels, clubs, theatres:
the Globe theatre, the Iseeum (club)
names of newspapers, magazines= attribute + common name
the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Worker
BUT Punch (proper name), Life, Time (uncountable)
The Spectator, The Star (countable)
Countable nouns in the Sing. must be preceded by one of the
Articles if there is no determinative:
a book, the book, my book, this book
countable nouns used in the Sing, generically (representing a
whole class) both articles can be used:
A lion (any lion) is a ferocious animal.
The lion (the whole class) is a ferocious animal.
nouns denoting members of the family :father, mother,
brother, aunt, baby, nurse, cook may be used as proper names
by family members or friends not preceded by Article and
written with capital letters:
Where is Father? What about Baby? Cook has gone to the market.
nouns denoting parts of the day :morning, evening,
afternoon, night get the Definite Article when a
particular morning/evening/night is meant and is used
with the preposition in : It is seven o’clock in the evening.
The day is cold, dark and dreary.
- when they are used with the preposition at, by
at noon, at night, by day, from morning till night
names of meals get NO Article : breakfast, lunch, dinner
when used in a general sense
BUT both Articles are used when the content of a meal/
definite meals are meant:
The day of the dinner has come.
to give a special dinner
nouns school, college, market, prison, jail, court, hospital
camp, bed, table, sea are used without articles when
treated as abstract nouns and denote state, activities or the
aim associated with them: to go school=to be a pupil
to go to bed=to go to sleep
BUT institute, university are used with Definite Article:
at the University, in the Institute
the noun town used with preposition in the meaning of
town life get NO Article : I’m going up to town.
It gets the two articles when it has the concrete meaning:
circumstances, conditions, events, matters, things
get NO Article :
Conditions were abnormal. …the rush of events,
The idea was a great success.
Definite Article + adj. wrong, right+ countable nouns
I took the wrong bus.
He is the right man in the right place.
as, kind of, sort of + Indefinite Article (wavers)
She was now engaged as (a) governess.
What kind of (a) woman is Mary?
Indefinite Article may have a distributive value:
Six lessons a day(per day)
countable nouns ( in the Sing.) are used with Indefinite
Article in exclamatory sentences and without article in
What books are you reading ?
What an interesting book!
NO Article is used with nouns in direct address:
What is the matter, little girl?
NO Article + predicative noun(adjectival character)
+ enough :He is not fool enough to believe all these.
NO Article + predicative noun in adverbial clause of
concession when the noun is placed at the head of the clause:
Child as he was, he suffered much.
16) NO Article + nouns denoting kinship used predicatively
He was (the) son of a fisherman.
She married Peter Smith, son of late Professor Smith
NO Article + nouns denoting title, rank, state, dignity used predicatively or in apposition:
He is President of the Academy.
Mrs. X. is Rector of our University.
NO Article with homogenous parts of the sentence
expressed by countable and connected by the conjunctions
and, both…and, either …or; neithernor:
Both books and copy books are on the table.
She took from the box tea-pot, sugar-bowl and milk-jug.
It is more usual to use the Definite Article in front of the
first noun of the sequence:
I put the books, pencils and copy books on the table.
when used in a general sense, they do not get articles:
Where there is life, there is hope
- when they are narrowed in their meaning, they get definite
articles: the life that was behind him
both articles may be used with nouns of material when they
denote various sorts of the substance or the objects made of the material:
It is a very good wine.
The wines of this region are excellent.
- names of illness are a special category: some of them are
used with an indefinite article: to catch a cold , to have a cold/ cough/headache/pain/ others with definite article:
to have the toothache/ the measles/the mumps
- the use of Articles depends on the general meaning of articles
and on the aspect predominant in the given context:
Mine is a small family.
The family is small.
The family are in the garden.
the nouns of multitude are used with the definite article:
The cattle are grazing.
The police are searching the house.
Special Cases of Using the Article
the + most + adjective: the most beautiful
most+ nouns : Most of the books are on the shelf.
article + numeral: She has not read the ten books yet.
article + ordinal number: the third, the second
article + pronouns: I’ll take the other book.
article + adjective: the last, the next,
article in set expressions: to play the piano/ violin
/the fool/ to pass the time; to get the upper hand
BUT some set expressions are without article:
by land, by train, by car, on shore, on board, in view of
to take place, to take part, to catch sight
Place of Article
- its usual place is in front of the noun: a long way, the new house
- Indefinite Article after the adverbs: quite, rather, just,
pronouns: both, and
quite a child, rather lonely, such a thing,
- Indefinite Article after the attribute expressed by an adjective
preceded by one of the adverbs: as, so, too, how
so short a time, as black a house inside as outside
- both articles follow the words half, double:
Half a minute ! We paid double the value.
I. Insert the definite article or the zero article:
I. He ran into house and locked door. 2. milk is good for children and elderly people. 3. food in restaurant near me is very good.
4. Please, put butter, bread, and eggs in refrigerator.
are wild animals. 6. One of Mark Twain's well-known works is 'Life on
II. Insert the indefinite article or the zero article:
1.He made mistake in his translation. 2. Would you do me favour? 3. The electric light was important invention. 4. Where there's smoke, there's fire. 5. Meeting your family has been great pleasure. 6. He is studying law. 7. They asked him difficult question. 8. She wants to become auditor. 9. The bank manager gave his client very good advice. 10. We all like to eat good food. 11. generosity and loyalty are rare virtues these days. 12. Eggs are 50 p. dozen. 13. What bad weather we are having today! 14. She bought black dress and pair of matching gloves. 15. Exeter is city in England.
III. Supply the required articles
I. He speaks with great embarrassment of the event. The architect is consulting with authority on urban development. 2. water used in this beer comes from a special spring. In order to survive, we must
have water. 3. bread has been called the staff of life. bread you baked is delicious. 4. silver in this ring is of inferior quality. silver is used for money and jewelry. 5. genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. genius of Edison is universally recognized. 6. fresh milk tastes good. milk which I bought yesterday should still be good. 7. Everyone was impressed by sincerity
with which the witness spoke. We all admire sincerity. 8. After several attempts, he lost courage. He showed courage that surprised me.
IV. Fill in the blanks with the required articles:
Last year I stayed in little town in England called Stratford-on-Avon. I wanted to go to theatre to see some of plays of Shakespeare. theatre is near River Avon, beautiful river in which you can bathe and sail boats. When I arrived in Stratford, I was told to stay at hotel called ' Dirty Duck', but I couldn't find it. I asked many people where it was, but no one knew it. I saw policeman at corner of main street. I spoke to him and asked him if he knew ' Dirty Duck'. He laughed and told me that he knew it all right. It was just at bottom of street near Plaza cinema. I walked to bottom of street, saw hotel and read name above door. It was called ' Black Swan'!
V. Fill in the blanks with the indefinite article a/an, before singular countable nouns, or the indefinite pronoun some, before uncountable nouns or plural nouns:
1. He needs hammer and nails to fix the picture on the wall.
2. They have bought furniture for their new penthouse.
3. For breakfast I had only bread and
cup of coffee. 4. They are building house in my street. 5. Could you give me information about this university ? 6. people are fonof telling stories. 7. There was snow on the high mountain. 8. That little town lies in lovely valley. 9. I have terrible headache. 10I can give you advice, but I can't do the work for you.
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