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What Are Articles? (with Examples)

The articles are the words a, an, and the.

There are two types of articles: The articles are classified as determiners.

The is called the definite article because it tells us something is specific. A and An are called the indefinite articles because they tell us something is unspecific.

articles example

Examples of the Definite and Indefinite Articles

Here are some examples of the articles in use:

When Do You Use An and A?

The main question regarding articles is when to use an instead of a.

An is used instead of a to make speaking easier. An is used when the first sound of the next word is a vowel sound. Note that consonants can create a vowel sounds (e.g., in the abbreviation MOT, the first sound is the vowel sound "em"), and vowels can create a consonant sound (e.g., in the "one-off deal," the first sound is the consonant sound "w"). The use of an is determined by the sound not the letter. Look at these examples:

Use An before a Vowel Sound

Use an (as opposed to a) when the next word starts with a vowel sound. For example:

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See Also

What is the definite article? What is the indefinite article? What are adjectives? What are vowels? What are consonants? Glossary of grammatical terms