Parts of speech: Articles


Articles are determiners used for the specific purposes in a sentence as defined in this chapter.

Kinds of Articles

There are TWO kinds of articles;

  1. Definite Article (the)
  2. Indefinite Article (a, an)

Definite Article (the)

[the] is the definite article and it has the following functions;

         i.  Definite article (the) is used with anything that has already been mentioned in the context. It means whenever you are using it with any noun or pronoun it stands for specific person or thing not for all of them.


Look at the following sentence.

  • Boy in mathematics class.

Now think what is wrong with it. this sentence is wrong because the boy is specific, the one that belongs to mathematics class so we have to use “the boy” instead of “boy”, therefore the right sentence is,

  • The boy in mathematics class.

Other examples

  • The plants of this nursery are removed.
  • The students of the class are good in studies.
  • He is the father of Eric.

       ii.  Definite article (the) is used with the superlative degree of adjective.


  • the most intelligent of all.
  • the biggest galaxy in the universe.
  • the tallest building in New York.
  • the highest peak.

      iii.  Definite article (the) is used with geographical regions and oceans etc.


  • the Pacific
  • the Atlantic ocean

Pronunciation of Definite article (the)

Definite article (the) is pronounced in two different ways. Sometimes it is pronounced as /thi/ and sometimes /tha/. Whenever it is used before vowel sound it is pronounced as /thi/, like;

  • the orbit
  • the ocean
  • the italicized words
  • the apple

When Definite article (the) is used before consonant sound it is pronounced as /tha/, like;

  • the torch
  • the cap
  • the bottle
  • the paper

Remember when pronounced as /thi/ it last sound is long vowel /i:/ whereas /tha/, in linking,  is pronounced rather quickly and there is no long vowel in it.

Indefinite Article (a, an)

There are two indefinite articles; a and an. Their common function is to indicate the singularity of anything. [a] is used before consonant sound whereas [an] is used before vowel sound.


  • a pen
  • an assignment
  • a mobile
  • a cap
  • an aeroplane
  • an envelop

The concept of vowels and consonants

Remember, vowel and consonants are not letters they are sounds, for example;

  • an MA (The letter M is pronounced as am so the first sound is vowel)
  • Europe (E is silent and the word starts with U sound which is not vowel)
  • an hour (H is silent and the very next sound is vowel)

The main difference between vowel and consonant sound

As it is already mentioned that only the sound is either vowel or consonant not the letters. Now the question stands what is the basic difference between them? There is only one major difference between vowel and consonant sound.

  1. While uttering vowel sound no organ in the vocal tract (nasal and oral cavity) touches other organ, like; a, o, i, e, u.
  2. Consonant sound is that which is uttered by the touch of two organs in the vocal tract (nasal and oral cavity). See few examples;
  • /b/ is pronounced by the touch of two lips hence called bilabial sound.
  • /t/ is pronounced when tip of the tongue touches teeth ridge.
  • /k/ is pronounced when tongue touches the soft palate.
  • /v/ is pronounced when lower lip touches the upper teeth.

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