or point out nouns. They are similar to adjectives because they
describe the nouns they introduce.
is the definite article and is used with singular and plural nouns.
It is used for a particular noun and can not stand alone, but must
be in front of either the noun or the word "one/ones".
and "an" are indefinite articles and are only used
with nonspecific, single nouns which can be counted. It is not possible
to use indefinite articles with plural nouns, but you can use "some".
They are also not used in front of noncount nouns. Noncount nouns
have only one form, usually singular. They are often things or ideas
that are shapeless by nature and cannot be seen and counted individually,
e.g. money, furniture, advice, information, etc. Click here for
more information on count
and noncount nouns.
try using the articles in sentences to show the differences:
- A company
in Seattle. - The company could be any one in Seattle.
- The company
I work for. - It is a specific company.
in Seattle. - They could be any companies in Seattle.
- The companies
I represent. - These are specific companies.
article is not usually (of course there are exceptions) used:
- for names,
e.g. Pioneer Square, Little Joe, etc.
- for the
names of streets or buildings, e.g. Broadway, St. Pauls
- for countries,
lakes and mountains, e.g. England, Lake Washington, Mount St.
special uses of the indefinite article are:
- 1) for professions,
nationalities, religions or political parties (when they are used
as nouns, of course. Be careful when using their adjectival forms.)
- e.g. I
am a trainer.
am an American. (Note, with adjective: I am American)
- 2) for expressions
of time, weight and measurements.
- E.g. How
many times a week do you learn English?
carpet costs $10 a square foot.