A, an, the are the articles, which are used before Nouns to show whether we are talking of general nouns or specified ones.
Therefore, they are divided into two categories:
1. Indefinite Article – a, an
2. Definite Article – The
1. Indefinite Article: Are used before Nouns which are not introduced before, not specified, general, applicable to any, new, unknown in nature.
For e.g.: I have a car. (Not introduced before)
He is a teacher. (Provides information)
Do you have a computer? (Confirms existence)
‘A’ is used before Nouns starting with consonant sound (not alphabet).
‘An’ is used before Nouns starting with Vowel Sound. (Not alphabet)
For e.g.: A stamp, a desk, a book.
An apple, an orange, an hour, an umbrella, an honest man, an ink-pot
Indefinite articles are used in the below mentioned cases:
i. Before singular, unspecified nouns.
e.g.: An orange, a pencil
ii. Before number collectives and some numbers.
e.g.: a dozen, a gallon, an ounce
iii. Used before a singular noun that is followed by a modifier.
e.g. : She met a girl who was wearing a yellow hat.
iv. Used with nouns to form adverbial phrases of quantity, degree or amount.
e.g.: I feel a bit depressed.
It’s a tad overwhelming.
It’s a little too much.
2. Definite Article: ‘The’ is the only definite article used before singular/ plural, countable/uncountable Nouns.
Used in the following cases:
i. Fore mostly used for a specific Noun mentioned before in the sentence.
e.g.: Please switch off the fan
I like the dress you are wearing.
ii. Used to indicate a unique Noun.
e.g.: The river Ganges flows right beneath this bridge.
iii. Used to denote a natural phenomenon.
e.g.: The storm lashed across the countryside.
iv. Used to refer to a distinct time period.
e.g.: The 60’s were known as the swinging 60’s.
I was considered very handsome in the past.
v. Used to indicate all members, carrying the same surname.
e.g.: The petroleum sector was dominated by the Ambanis.
I watched the Simpsons show numerous times.