Articles are adjectives that let the reader know if you are referring to a particular thing or just one of those things. Articles in the English language are a, an, and the.
There are two kinds of articles: definite and indefinite.
Definite Article: The
The is considered a definite article, and it tells the reader that you are referring to a particular thing that both you and the reader know and can recognize.
The student standing by the door. (Referring to a particular student and a particular door)
The book that you brought is here. (Referring to a particular book)
Indefinite Article: A, An
A and an are considered indefinite articles, and they tell the reader that you are referring to just one thing (not a particular thing).
She will bring an apple for lunch. (It could be any apple)
He brought a pen so he could take notes. (There is no specific pen he brought; it is just a pen)
Use a for a word that begins with a consonant (a car, a bed, a computer), and use an for a word that begins with a vowel (an elephant, an outlet, an igloo).
Tips for Using Articles:
· The first time you refer to an object use a/an. The second and every subsequent time, you should use the.
I drive a minivan. The minivan is black with red and orange flames painted on the side.
· Do not use an article when referring to countries, states, lakes, counties, or mountains. An exception would be when referring to a collection of something: The Great Lakes, The United States.
I have visited South America. She lives in Hennepin County.
· Do use an article when referring to a body of water.
I have sailed on the Adriatic Sea. My family lives on the Atlantic Ocean.