The article

There are three articles: a, an and the.

(i) ‘a’ and ‘an’ are referred to as indefinite articles. This article is used before:

  1. A singular noun which can be counted.
  2. Singular countable noun which is used to represent a class or group of things or people.
  3. When giving somebody’s occupation 


  1. Jane has bought a new pen.
  2. A baby needs a lot of sleep

  1. He is an electrician.

A and AN

(ii) ‘The’ is referred to as the definite article. It is used before:

  1. Singular and countable nouns.

  2. Nouns representing things there is only one of.
  3. An adjective representing a class of people or things.
  4. Superlatives.


  1. The people of Kenya are friendly.

  1. The cave was frighteningly dark.

  1. The dead should be respected.
  2. Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in the country.


1. to refer to something which has already been mentioned.

2. when both the speaker and listener know what is being talked about, even if it has not been mentioned before.

3. in sentences or clauses where we define or identify a particular person or object:

4. to refer to objects we regard as unique:

5. before superlatives and ordinal numbers:

6. with adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people: the Japanese , the old.

7. with names of geographical areas and oceans: the Caribbean, the Sahara, the Atlantic.

8. with decades, or groups of years: she grew up in the seventies.

Here is a video on the articles A, An and The


iii) No article is needed when:

  1. Plural nouns are referring to people or living things in general.
  2. Before an abstract noun when used in a general statement.


  1. Furniture is expensive.

  1. Honesty is the best policy.

The Article:

  • an_electrician by Waukesha county technical college used under CC_BY-SA
  • baby_sleeping by Buzzerbug used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-1-articles by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-2-a--an by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • atticles_a_and_an by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • dark_cave by pinterest used under CC_BY-SA
  • mt_kenya by Kikulacho used under CC_BY-SA
  • people_of_kenya by AfriChoice used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-10.know by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-11-define-identity by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-12--earthgoesroundthemoon by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-9-a-the by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-13-superlatives--ordinal by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • article_a_an_the_1 by Unknown used under CC_BY-SA
  • furniture by Green eyes used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-16--musical-instruments by youtube and eLimu used under CC_BY-SA

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