Indefinite, Definite And Zero Articles
In English, articles are classified into three categories:
the indefinite, the definite, and the zero articles.
The indefinite articles: a and an
A is used in front of words that begin
with a consonant sound, including some words
that begin with the letter u, like a uniform. For example:
a classroom, a school, a church, a man, a uniform, a unique pen, a union set, etcetera.
An on the other hand is used in front of words
that begin with a vowel sound and also
in front of words that begin
with a silent h such as hour, honest,
honorable, e.tc. For example, an elephant,
an article, an orange, an eye, an idea, an hour, an honest girl, etcetera.
The indefinite article is used with
countable nouns when we speak about
them for the first time or when the person we
are speaking to does not know about them:
A military truck came here and a military captain
got out to find out what the riot was about.
The indefinite article can also be used in
place of the number one.
He gave me an orange.
We sat in a class for a whole hour before the teacher came in.
It is also used before the complement in the pattern subject + am/is/are + noun complement in a sentence:
I am a student at the university and I am a Muslim.
You are also a student at the university but you are a Portuguese.
Sometimes, the definite article means
the same as each, especially in sentences like these below:
We have English lessons only once a week.
The cost of fish has risen from 700 francs to 1500 francs a kilo.
The definite article the
In the English language, the is the only definite article thus it is used with any noun, countable or uncountable, singular or plural; which has been mentioned earlier in the same conversation or passage. It also applies to
a noun that is the only one of its kind, For example:
the moon, the sun, the equator, the sky, the world etcetera.)
or the one in the situation talked about.
The teacher saw some of the students sitting in a bar. The bar was full of people smoking cigarettes.
During the rainy season, there are many floods around the world.
The definite article is very often used with nouns followed by a phrase that defines them. This is because the defining phrase makes them the one or ones in the situation we are talking about at the time.
The person in front of the class is the teacher.
The beginning of the rainy season this year was very cold.
The information you gave me about the students was not correct.
The Zero Article
As the word zero implies, no word at all is used. This means that the article is absent. The main uses are before plural countable nouns and for abstract nouns. E.g. love, mentality, behavior, evil, heaven, life, etcetera). Examples:
Love makes the world go round.
There are many wonderful things in life.
Buses stop at bus stops.
Names of seasons, months, days of the week, and meals are used without an article when we talk about them in a general way. They can take either the definite or indefinite articles when they become specific or used in a particular context.
Many people journey during Summer.
The summer of 2019 was cold. (specific)
I like eating beans.
I have eaten the beans. (specific)
However, we talk of the harmattan, the rainy season, the dry season.
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