myQBook Grammar Concept



Article Adjectives

A special type of adjective is called an article adjective. There are three articles: "a", "an" and "the". (However, since "an" is just another form of "a", technically speaking, there are only two unique articles).

These adjectives are used in front of most nouns to specify the noun. You wouldn't say "Boy walked quickly"! Instead, you would say either "The boy walked quickly," or "A boy walked quickly."

In the above sentences, "the" and "a" are the articles. They tell the reader that a specific boy walked quickly.

The vs. A/An

The two articles “the” and “a” are not interchangeable. They each have specific situations where they must be used.

Use “the” when you want to specify one specific noun out of all the same nouns. For example:

The girl jumped out the low window onto the rosebush.

Here, the three “the’s” specify one particular girl, one particular window, and one particular rosebush out of all the girls, windows and rosebushes.

“The” is called a definite article because the subject it is referring to is a definite (specific) noun out of all the same nouns.

Use “a” when you are not specifying a particular noun. Consider the following sentence:

A cat is stuck up in a tree.

In this sentence, we are not talking about any particular cat or any particular tree. We are just talking about some cat stuck up in some tree. The article “a” (or an) is used with nouns that are not specific.

“A/an” is called an indefinite article because the subject it is referring to is an indefinite (not specific) noun.

 

A vs. An

The articles “a” and “an” are actually two forms of the same article. However, we have two different forms of this article because each form is used in a different situation. The rules for using the correct form of the article are as follows:

Use “a” when the first sound heard after the article is a consonant. For example:

a car, a beetle, a dinosaur, a pair of scissors, a zebra.

Use “an” when the first sound heard after the article is a vowel. For example:

an alpine butterfly, an eatery, an igloo, an octopus, an umbrella.

Sometimes, even though the word following the article may start with a consonant, you may need to use the article “an” if the first sound heard is that of a vowel. Similarly, sometimes you may have to use the article “a” before a word that starts with a vowel if the first sound heard is that of a consonant. For example:

It is an honor to meet you.

I don’t think I will ever see a unicorn.

In the first example, the article “an” is used because in the word "honor", the “h” is silent, so the “o”, a vowel, is the first sound heard.

In the second example, the article "a" is used because the “u” in “unicorn” has the sound of the consonant “y” as in “yell”.

Remember that this rule is based off of the first sound heard after the article, not the first sound of the noun. In other words, if there is another word between the article and the noun, then the article will be based on the first sound of the word in between, not the noun. For example:

a lazy alligator, a nice eatery, a very cold igloo, a giant octopus, a heavy umbrella.

Even though the first sounds of the nouns in the above examples are those of vowels, the first sounds after the articles are those of consonants, so here the article “a” is used and not "an".

Here are some examples of the opposite:

an artistic person, an enthusiastic teacher, an impatient boy, an occupied doctor, an underfed pet.

Even though the first sounds of the nouns in the above examples are those of consonants, the first sounds after the articles are those of vowels, so here the article “an” is used and not "a".





Concept Statistics:

Concept contributor:       myQBook
User ratings:
     
5/5





Regular Adjectives
Adverbs

© 2020 - myQBook. All Rights Reserved.