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Understanding of Articles will improve your language skills

Understanding of Articles, Improve your Language Skills, English skills

Understanding of Articles will improve your language skills

There are three articles in the English Language that fall under two categories. The articles are – ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. Articles are determiners that give information of a noun with which they are associated. They specify definiteness of the noun. Articles never change their form unlike verbs, adjectives etc. The articles are an important aspect of the English language.

The two categories in which articles are divided are:

  1. Definite – The
  2. Indefinite – A, An

Definite Articles

  1. Used when we are referring to something specific.
  2. Used before singular, countable and common nouns.
  3. ‘The’ has no restriction when used with a word starting with a consonant or vowel
  4. It is used when –
    1. When we need to specify something in particular. For e.g. Pass the juice next to you, please.
    2. Used with proper names of countries, islands and specific regions like desert, water bodies (except lakes) or mountain ranges. For e.g. The Himalayas, The United States of America, The Pacific, The Ganges.
    3. To specify plurals. For e.g. The poor need your help.

Indefinite Articles

  1. Used when we are referring to a something generic.
  2. ‘A’ is used with nouns or adjectives that start with a consonant sound.
  3. ‘An’ is used with nouns or adjectives that start with a vowel sound.
  4. These are used when –
    1. An object is introduced for the first time. For e.g. I want a purse to keep change.
    2. There is reference for ‘one’ object. For e.g. An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.

Read on to find out more.

1. Structure

Articles are necessary as they help in completing the structure of the sentence. For instance, ‘Where is dog?’ lacks a sense of completion because an article is missing. It leaves the sentence vague. Adding the article ‘the’ before dog will complete the sentence and give it a sense of definiteness.

2. Grammar

Articles are crucial to make a sentence grammatically correct. For instance, 
‘Dog eat my file’- In this sentence, though the meaning is clear to the reader that the file was eaten by a dog, but the sentence is not well constructed because it lacks an article. ‘A dog eat my file’ is a grammatically sound sentence instead.  

3. Meaning

Articles shape the meaning of a sentence, to an extent. They help in conveying the intended meaning of a sentence to the readers. Understanding the use of articles can help understand the sentence in depth. New information is usually signalled by the indefinite article, for instance, ‘A cat appeared in the window’ and old or previously mentioned information is usually signalled by the definite article, for instance, ‘The cat belonged to my neighbour.’

4. Inform about nouns

Articles come before nouns and modify them. They reveal valuable information about the nouns which help understand the sentence better. For instance, ‘The criminal had a gun’ clarifies that the criminal had only one gun and ‘the’ points to a specific criminal. They are used to differentiate between things or ideas, usually expressed by nouns. For instance,
‘Please hand me the book on the table’ (implies a specific book kept on a specific table).
‘Please hand me a book’ (implies that any book will do).

Articles are an integral part of the English language. They add to the correctness of the language. Aspirants should be mindful of the correct usage of articles as wrong articles not only leave a bad impression but also impact the meaning of the sentence.

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