English is a precise language with many conventions of grammar that must be followed by its practitioners so that they can understand one another and communicate effectively. The language comprises many elements, or parts of speech, which are vital. Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Prepositions, Adjectives, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Interjections and Articles are all parts of speech that are extremely important. In the next four High English quizzes we will learn more about definite and indefinite articles and how they can be used to communicate more effectively and precisely.
Articles can be grouped under a broader term called determiners. Determiners, as the name suggests, help to determine the identity of things, places or names. These are all nouns, so determiners are used to modify nouns.
Not only nouns, but also noun phrases, can be modified by determiners. In the next two grammar quizzes we shall look at articles as qualifiers of nouns. Look at the following two sentences:
‘The house that I visited today is Mustaq’s.’
‘A house with a single storey is called a single-storied house.’
In the sentences you find the articles used to modify the nouns are different. In the first sentence ‘the’ is used before ‘house’ and in the second sentence ‘a’ is used before ‘house.’ In the first sentence, you can see that the reference is to a particular house that a person visits and hence the use of the definite article, ‘the’. In the second sentence, the reference is to any house and the indefinite article, ‘a’, is used. Thus, ‘the’ is the definite article and ‘a’ is the indefinite article. Of course, when a noun starts with its first letter as a vowel you would use the article ‘an’ instead of ‘a’. Take the grammar quiz that follows and learn to use the appropriate articles.