Learn English Grammar Online Free: A/An and The In English

English Tutorial on A/An and The

Learn English Grammar Online Free: A/An and The In English

Have you ever struggled with the use of A/An and The in English? Read this quick post to learn the use of these articles in this English grammar post. The use of articles in English is quite tricky and sometimes filled with confusion, especially for non-native English speakers.

What is the meaning of A/An and The

In English, a, an, and the are called articles. These are also called determiners.

These articles are also sometimes classified as adjectives because they tell something about a noun and are always used before a noun.

How To Use A/An?

If the speaker does NOT know about the noun that is being referred in a sentence then she/he uses a or an.

Therefore, a or an is also called an indefinite article.

Let us look at some examples:

  • Do you have a pen?

Person 1: Are you eating a cherry?

Person 2: No, I am eating an apple.

Notes:

  • Use a before a noun that starts with a consonant.
  • Use an before a noun that starts with a vowel.

How To Use The?

If the speaker knows about the noun that is being referred to in a sentence then she/he uses the.

Therefore, The is also called a definite article.

Let us look at some examples:

  • Where did you keep the pen?

Person 1: Have you finished eating the apple?

Person 2: Yes, I have.

In other words, when a speaker says about a non-specific noun then she makes use of an article a or an.

When a speaker says about a specific noun then she makes use of article the.

Comparison of A/An and The

Non-SpecificSpecific
Have you been to a museum?Did you go to the museum in our town?

In the above-given comparison, when the speaker is asking about any museum, which is not known to the speaker, she makes use of the article a.

When she wants to know about the visit to a specific museum, then she uses the article the.

Now that you know how to use an article in English, test yourself with this small quiz. All the best!