What are articles?

Articles are words placed before a noun in a sentence .  They are used to introduce the noun.  The three English articles are a, an and the.

No Article – Singular Noun (Incorrect)

  1. Read book.
  2. I have apple.
  3. Dave sells watch.

No Article – Plural Noun (Correct)

  1. I read books.
  2. I like apples.
  3. Dave sells watches.

Articles A & An – Singular Noun (Correct)

  1. Read a book.
  2. I have an apple.
  3. Dave sold a watch.

The (Correct)

  1.  Read the book.
  2.  I have the green apple.
  3.  Dave wants the gold watch.

When are the articles a, an and the used?

The articles a and an are indefinite articles.  Indefinite articles are used with general nouns.  General nouns do not refer to a specific person, place or thing.

Use  a before words that begin with a consonant sound.

Use an before words that begin with a vowel sound.

Do not use a and an with plural nouns.

(Consonant Sound Beginning)

  • a mother
  • a boy
  • a cake
  • a hat

(Vowel Sound Beginning)

  • an apple
  • an orange
  • an x-ray (sounds like ‘ex’)
  • an hour (sounds like ‘our’)

The article the is a definite article.  Definite articles are used with specific nouns.  Specific nouns refer to specific persons, places, and things.

Non Specific Singular Nouns
(with Indefinite articles)

  • a boy
  • an orange
  • a shirt

Non Specific Plural Nouns
(No articles needed)

  • boys
  • oranges
  • shirts

Specific Nouns with
Definite articles

  • the boy at the front door
  • the  orange from the basket
  • the shirt from the concert

What are good examples of the articles a, an and the in sentences?

General Nouns

  1. My sister baked a pie.
  2.  I fed an elephant yesterday.
  3. Rudy asked for a peach.
  4. Erica asked for an apple.

Specific Nouns

  1. My sister baked the pie on the counter.
  2.  I fed the biggest elephant at the zoo.
  3.  The children like the green grapes.
  4. I didn’t like the fruit that I was given.

Basic ESL Workbooks

Workbook 1
Lessons 1-15 Buy
Workbook 2
Lessons 16-30 Buy
Workbook 3
Lessons 31-45 Buy