A, An and The – These three are called Articles.
There are two types of Articles:
1) Definite Article [The] - ‘The’ generally points out a particular (fixed, definite) person, place or thing.
2) Indefinite Article [A/ An] - ‘A/ An’ does not point out any particular person or thing (not fixed, indefinite).
When to pronounce "the" and when to pronounce "thee"?
‘The’ is pronounced as ‘thee’ - if the next word starts with a vowel sound.
‘The’ is pronounced as ‘the’ (as usual) - if the next word starts with a consonant sound.
The university (Pronounced as Thee University )
The umbrella (Pronounced as Thee umbrella)
The year (Pronounced as The year)
The nose (Pronounced as The nose)
When to use A and when to use An?
‘An’ is used when the next word starts with a vowel sound and ‘A’ is used when the next word starts with a consonant sound.
A boy, A pen, A university, A year [Here university, union sounds like a consonant as it sounds like 'yu'] An ass, An enemy, An hour, An honest man [Here hour, honest sounds like a vowel as h is silent]
Why we use Articles ?
Imagine that you are at home. Suddenly, a boy knocks on the door and wants to talk to your mom. If you know this boy then you will go to your mom and will say "Mom, the boy is at the door, who wants to talk to you.". But if you don't know this boy then you will go to your mom and will say "Mom, a boy is at the door, who wants to talk to you.".
“If the person, place or thing is unknown or being talked about for the first time, then we need to use indefinite article (a or an), however, if the person, place or thing is known and already been talked about, then we need to use definite article i.e. “the”.
When to use "A/An"
- Before singular countable noun.
I have a pen.
She has a car.
Tom has an umbrella.
She is a girl.
- In exclamatory sentences, if there is a singular, countable noun after what, then we use a/an
What a grand building!
What a pretty girl!
When to use "The"
- With unique People/ objects.
Examples: The Sun, The Earth, The Moon, The president, The CEO, The world, The sky etc.
- With adjectives referring to a whole group of people.
Examples: The old, The young, The rich, The poor, etc.
- With famous buildings, museums and monuments.
Examples: The Taj Mahal, The Qutub Minar, The Lal Quila, The Eiffel Tower, The Globe etc.
- With superlative degrees of an adjective.
Examples: The highest, The most, The lowest, The youngest, The oldest, The poorest etc.
- With ordinal numbers.
Examples: The last chapter, The first time, The second occasion, The third member etc.
- With countries whose names include words like kingdom, states or republic.
Examples: The United States, The United Kingdom, The Republic of Ireland etc.
- With rivers, canals & oceans.
Examples: The Gangas, The Nile, The Atlantic, The pecific etc.
- With countries that have plural names.
Examples: The Netherlands, The Philippines etc.
- With the names of families.
Examples: The Ranas, The Khans, The Rawats, The Guptas, The Jacksons etc.
- Before the word ‘only’ if in the sentence the meaning of ‘only’ is ‘only one’.
Examples: The only son, The only friend, The only batsman etc.
- ‘The’ is used before the word ‘whole’ and after the word ‘all’.
I am reading whole book.( Incorrect)
I am reading the whole book.( Correct)
All books are kept on the table.( Incorrect)
All the books are kept on the table.( Correct)
When NOT to use "The"
- ‘The’ is not used before the name of any disease.
He is suffering from the fever.( Incorrect)
He is suffering from fever.( Correct)
- ‘The’ is not used before the name of any country.
I live in the India.( Incorrect)
I live in India.( Correct)
- ‘The’ is not used before the name of any language.
I speak the Hindi.( Incorrect)
I speak Hindi.( Correct)
- ‘The’ is not used before Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
I had the breakfast at 7 o’clock.( Incorrect)
I had breakfast at 7 o’clock.( Correct)
- ‘The’ is not used before proper noun.
Examples: The Ram, The Delhi, The India, The Rahul (Incorrect)