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in are the definite article the and the indefinite articles a and an (and sometimes some). Use of the definite article implies that the speaker assumes the listener knows the identity of the noun's (because it is obvious, because it is common knowledge, or because it was mentioned in the same sentence or an earlier sentence). Use of an indefinite article implies that the speaker assumes the listener does not have to know the identity of the referent. In some no article is used.

Articles are a special case of in English; for information about this class as a whole, see .

Use of articles
The rules of require that in most cases a , or more generally a , must be "completed" with a to clarify what the of the noun phrase is.Greenbaum, Sidney (1996) The Oxford English Grammar. ISBN 0-19-861250-8 The most common determiners are the the and a(n), which specify the presence or absence of of the noun. Other possible determiners include words like this, my, each and many – see . There are also cases where no determiner is required, as in the sentence John likes fast cars.

The definite article the is used when the referent of the noun phrase is assumed to be unique or known from the context. For example, in the sentence The boy with glasses was looking at the moon, it is assumed that in the context the reference can only be to one boy and one moon. However, the definite article is not used:

  • with generic nouns ( or ): cars have accelerators, happiness is contagious, referring to cars in general and happiness in general (compare the happiness I felt yesterday, specifying particular happiness);
  • with many : John, France, London, etc.

The indefinite article a (before a sound) or an (before a sound) is used only with , nouns. It indicates that the referent of the noun phrase is one unspecified member of a class. For example, the sentence An ugly man was smoking a pipe does not refer to any specifically known ugly man or pipe.

No article is used with or nouns when the referent is indefinite (just as in the generic definite case described above). However, in such situations, the determiner some is often added (or any in negative contexts and in many questions). For example:

  • There are apples in the kitchen or There are some apples in the kitchen;
  • We do not have information or We do not have any information;
  • Would you like tea? or Would you like some tea? or Would you like any tea?

Additionally, articles are not normally used:

  • in noun phrases that contain other determiners ( my house, this cat, America's history), although one can combine articles with certain other determiners, as in the many issues, such a child (see ).
  • with pronouns ( he, nobody), although again certain combinations are possible (as the one, the many, the few).
  • preceding noun phrases consisting of a or ( what you've done is very good, to surrender is to die).

If it is required to be concise, e.g. in , signs, labels, and notes, articles are often omitted along with certain other . For example, rather than The mayor was attacked, a newspaper headline might say just Mayor attacked.

For more information on article usage, see the sections and below. For more cases where no article is used, see .

Word order
In most cases, the article is the first word of its , preceding all other adjectives and modifiers.Disterheft, Dorothy (2004) Advanced Grammar. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice-Hall ISBN 0-13-048820-8
  • The little old red bag held a very big surprise.

There are a few exceptions, however:

  • Certain determiners, such as all, both, half, double, precede the definite article when used in combination ( all the team, both the girls, half the time, double the amount).
  • The determiner such and exclamative what precede the indefinite article ( such an idiot, what a day!).
  • Adjectives qualified by too, so, as and how generally precede the indefinite article: too great a loss, so hard a problem, as delicious an apple as I have ever tasted, I know how pretty a girl she is.
  • When adjectives are qualified by quite (particularly when it means "fairly"), the word quite (but not the adjective itself) often precedes the indefinite article: quite a long letter.

See also and .

Definite article
The only in is the word the, denoting person(s) or thing(s) already mentioned, under discussion, implied, or otherwise presumed familiar to the listener or reader. The is the most commonly used word in the English language.

"The" can be used with both singular and plural nouns, with nouns of any gender, and with nouns that start with any letter. This is different from many other languages which have different articles for different genders and/or numbers.

In most dialects "the" is pronounced as (with the followed by ) when followed by a consonant sound. In many dialects, including (standard educated speech of England), the pronunciation is used before words beginning with vowel sounds. The emphatic form of the word is (like thee) – see .

In some Northern England of English, the is pronounced (with a ) or as a , usually written in as ⟨t⟩; in some dialects it reduces to nothing. This is known as . In dialects that do not have the voiced dental fricative , the is pronounced with the , as in or ).

The and that are common developments from the same system. Old English had a definite article se, in the masculine , seo (feminine), and (neuter). In these had all into þe, the ancestor of the word the.

The principles of the use of the definite article in English are described above under . (The word the is also used with , in phrases like, the sooner the better, and, we were all the happier for it; this form of the definite article has a somewhat different etymology from other uses of the definite article. (See the Wiktionary entry .)

An area in which the use or non-use of the is sometimes problematic is with geographic names. Names of rivers, seas, mountain ranges, deserts, island groups and the like are generally used with the definite article ( the Rhine, the North Sea, the Alps, the Sahara, the Hebrides). Names of continents, islands, countries, regions, administrative units, cities and towns mostly do not take the article ( Europe, Skye, Germany, Scandinavia, Yorkshire, Madrid). However, there are certain exceptions:

  • Countries and regions whose names are modified common nouns, or are derived from island groups, take the article: the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic, the Middle East, the Philippines, the Seychelles. Note also the Netherlands.
  • Certain countries whose names derive from mountain ranges, rivers, deserts, etc. are sometimes used with an article ( the Lebanon, the Sudan),Swan, Michael How English Works, p. 25 but this usage is declining, although is the recommended name of that country. Since the independence of (formerly sometimes called the Ukraine), most style guides have advised dropping the article Ukraine or "the Ukraine"? by Andrew Gregorovich, (in some other languages there is a ). Use of the Argentine for is now old-fashioned.
  • Some names include an article for historical reasons, such as , or to reproduce the native name ().
  • Names beginning with a common noun followed by of take the article, as in the Isle of Wight (compare Christmas Island). The same applies to names of institutions: Cambridge University, but the University of Cambridge.

Abbreviations for "the" and "that"
Since "the" is one of the most frequently used words in English, at various times short abbreviations for it have been found:

  • Barred thorn:  the earliest abbreviation, it is used in manuscripts in the . It is the letter with a bold horizontal stroke through the ascender, and it represents the word þæt, meaning "the" or "that" (neuter / )
  • þͤ and þͭ  ( with a superscript e or t) appear in manuscripts for "þe" and "þat" respectively.
  • and   are developed from þͤ and þͭ and appear in Early Modern manuscripts and in print (see below).

Occasional proposals have been made by individuals for an abbreviation. In 1916, Legros & Grant included in their classic printers' handbook Typographical Printing-Surfaces, a proposal for a letter similar to Ħ to represent "Th", thus abbreviating "the" to ħe. Missed Opportunity for Ligatures Why they did not propose reintroducing to the English language " þ", for which blocks were already available for use in Icelandic texts, or the form is unknown.

In 2013 an Australian restaurateur named Paul Mathis proposed Ћ, which he nicknamed "The Tap", as a symbol for "the." This symbol is the same as the Serbian Cyrillic letter Ћ ().

Ye form
In Middle English, the (þe) was frequently abbreviated as a þ with a small e above it, similar to the abbreviation for that, which was a þ with a small t above it. During the latter and periods, the letter (þ) in its common script, or , form came to resemble a y shape. As such the use of a y with an e above it () as an abbreviation became common. This can still be seen in reprints of the 1611 edition of the in places such as Romans 15:29, or in the . Historically the article was never pronounced with a y sound, even when so written.

Indefinite article
The of takes the two forms a and an. Semantically they can be regarded as meaning "one", usually without emphasis. They can be used only with singular countable nouns; for the possible use of some (or any) as an equivalent with plural and uncountable nouns, see below.

Distinction between a and an
The form an is used before words starting with a sound, regardless of whether the word begins with a vowel . How to Use Articles (a/an/the) – The OWL at Purdue This avoids the (momentary silent pause) that would otherwise be required between a and a following vowel sound. Where the next word begins with a consonant sound, a is used. Examples: a box; an apple; an (pronounced "es-es-oh"); a filter (HEPA is pronounced as a word rather than as letters); an hour (the h is silent); a one-armed bandit (pronounced "won..."); an heir (pronounced "air"); a unicorn (pronounced "yoo-"); an herb in (where the h is silent), but a herb in British English.

Some speakers and writers use an before a word beginning with the sound in an syllable: an historical novel, an hotel. ξ1 However, this usage is now uncommon and disfavored.

Some dialects, particularly in England (such as ), silence many or all initial h sounds (), and so employ an in situations where it would not be used in the standard language, like an 'elmet (standard English: a helmet).

There used to be a distinction analogous to that between a and an for the my and thy, which became mine and thine before a vowel, as in mine eyes. Other more or less analogous cases in different languages include the articles "a" (אַ) and "an" (אַן) (used in essentially the same manner as the English ones), the articles a and az (used the same way, except that they are definite articles; juncture loss, as described below, has occurred in that language too), and the prefixes, meaning "not" or "without", in and .

Both a and an are usually pronounced with a : , . However, when stressed (which is rare in ordinary speech), they are normally pronounced respectively as (to rhyme with day) and (to rhyme with pan). See .

An is the older form (related to one, cognate to ein; etc.). An was originally an unstressed form of the number ān 'one'.

The principles for use of the indefinite article are given above under .

In addition to serving as an article, a and an are also used to express a proportional relationship, such as "a dollar a day" or "$150 an ounce" or "A sweet a day helps you work, rest and play", although historically this use of "a" and "an" does not come from the same word as the articles.

Juncture loss
In a process called , the n has wandered back and forth between the indefinite article and words beginning with vowels over the history of the language, where for example what was once a nuncle is now an uncle. The gives such examples as smot hym on the hede with a nege tool from 1448 for smote him on the head with an edge tool, as well as a nox for an ox and a napple for an apple. Sometimes the change has been permanent. For example, a was once an ewt (earlier euft and eft), a nickname was once an eke-name, where eke means "extra" (as in eke out meaning "add to"), and in the other direction, a napron (meaning a little tablecloth, related to the word napkin) became an apron, and a naddre became an adder. The initial n in was also dropped through juncture loss, but this happened before the word was borrowed into English.

Use of some
The word some is sometimes used as a functional equivalent of a(n) with and (also called a ). For example, Give me some apples, Give me some water (equivalent to the singular countable forms an apple and a glass of water). Grammatically this some is not required; it is also possible to use zero article: Give me apples, Give me water. The use of some in such cases implies a more limited quantity. (Compare the forms unos/unas in , which are the plural of the indefinite article un/una.)

In most negative clauses, and often in questions, the word any is used instead of some: Don't give me any apples; Is there any water?

The some can also have a more emphatic meaning: "some but not others" or "some but not many". For example, some people like football, while others prefer rugby, or I've got some money, but not enough to lend you any. It can also be used as an , not qualifying a noun at all ( Give me some!) or followed by a prepositional phrase ( I want some of your vodka); the same applies to any.

Some can also be used with singular countable nouns, as in There is some person on the porch, which implies that the identity of the person is unknown to the speaker (which is not necessarily the case when a(n) is used). This usage is fairly informal, although singular countable some can also be found in formal contexts: We seek some value of x such that...

When some is used with merely the function of an indefinite article, it is normally pronounced weakly, as . In other meanings it is pronounced . See .

Effect on alphabetical order
In sorting titles and phrases alphabetically, articles are usually excluded from consideration, since being so common makes them more of a hindrance than a help in finding a desired item. For example, The Comedy of Errors is alphabetized before A Midsummer Night's Dream, because the and a are ignored and comedy alphabetizes before midsummer. In an index, the former work might be written "Comedy of Errors, The", with the article moved to the end.

See also

External links

    ^ (2022). 052162181X, . 052162181X

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