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Arts & Letters Daily

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Articles - Level II

Articles – Definite and Indefinite

Notes

Articles are a type of adjective and therefore modify nouns. There are two kinds of articles: definite articles and indefinite articles.

  • Definite Article: The word ‘the’ is the only definite article. It is used to modify both singular and plural particular or definite nouns.

Example: The car is in the garage. (The definite article ‘the’ indicates a particular car is in a particular garage.)

Example: The cars are in the garages. (The definite article ‘the’ indicates particular cars are in particular garages.)

  • Indefinite Article: ‘A’ and ‘an’ are the only indefinite articles. The indefinite article is used with generic nouns when no particular object is specified.

The indefinite article is used to modify only singular generic nouns. Some generic nouns are also called non-count nouns because they cannot be counted. They are considered to be plural and therefore do not require an article unless reference is

to a specific noun. Then the definite article ‘the’ would be used. . Words in this category include: gold, silver, nickel, iron, money, sugar, flour, salt, water, and oil.

Example: Mary eats a banana every day. (The indefinite article ‘a’ is required because no specific banana was mentioned.)

Example: Mary ate the last banana we had. (The definite article ‘the’ is required because a specific banana was mentioned.)

Example: Mary eats an apple after school. (The indefinite article ‘an’ is required because no specific apple was mentioned. The indefinite article, ‘an’, is used instead of ‘a’ when the noun that follows begins with a vowel.)

Example: John eats fruit every day. (No article is required with a plural generic noun ‘fruit’.)

Example: Sugar is used in every kitchen. (No article is required because ‘sugar’ is a non-count noun.)

Points to remember

  • The article is always placed before the noun it modifies and before adjectives that modify the noun.

Example: A red apple is good to eat. (The indefinite article ‘a’ comes before the adjective ‘red’ and the noun ‘apple’.)

Example: People eat the outer skins of grapes. (The definite article ‘the’ comes before the adjective ‘outer’ and the noun ‘skins’.)

  • In a series of sentences, the indefinite article used in the first sentence becomes a definite article in the sentences that follow, because the generic object has become a particular object.

Example: I have a new book. I put the book on the kitchen table so mother would see it. (The indefinite article is used in the first sentence because no particular book is mentioned. In the second sentence the definite article ‘the’ is used to

indicate that particular book and table.)

Assignment

Underline the correct article in the brackets.

1. (A, The, no article) researchers do not have an explanation for the cooling of Antarctica.

2. People wanted (a, the, no article) clear question.

3. John was once (a, the, an, no article) journalist and he understands  the job well.

4. The store- owner is trying to minimize (a, an, the, no article) impact of an increase in the cost of natural gas.

5. The expert  said that (a, the, no article) biggest single increase came about because of decreased production of natural gas.

6. The report published in today’s (a, the, no article) newspaper explains the increase in the cost of natural gas.

7. (The, A, no article) findings were a major puzzle for most readers.

8. There is (a, the, no article) huge ice-covered continent at the bottom of the world.

9. Right now (a, the, no article) earth is experiencing a, sharp rise in temperature.

10.  John heard (a, the, no article) dog bark. The dog was in the neighbor’s yard chasing a cat.

11.  Is (the, a, no article)  situation so serious that a way to prevent human deaths during killer heat wave must be found?

12.   (The, A, An, no article) number one threat to an estimated 22,000 polar bears  is climate change.

13.  In (the, a, an, no article) U.S. Journal of Science, scientists produced pictures of  strange lines made by a group of worm-like animals millions of years ago.

14.  The change in temperature over (the, a, an, no article) period of 100 years  has caused  sea ice to shrink six percent.

15.  Polar bears face (the, a, an, no article) impacts from hunting, toxic pollutants and future development in the Arctic.

16.  Studies show  that (the, a, an, no article) polar bears come ashore  about 25 pounds lighter when the ice breaks up two weeks early.

17.  U.S. scientists concluded that (the, a, an, no article) huge asteroid wiped out most of the, plants and animals of the Jurassic era.

18.  Research adds to (the, a, an, no article) theory that there was a comet or asteroid impact about 200 million years ago.

19.   (The, A, An, no article) rare elements on Earth are more common in comets and  asteroids.

20.  The earth contains many elements not found on the moon or (the, a, an, no article) planets in the solar system.

Answer Key

Articles

1. (A, The, no article) researchers do not have an explanation for the cooling of Antarctica.

Answer: no article

2. People wanted (a, the, no article) clear question.

Answer: Article – a

3. John was once (a, the, an, no article) journalist and he understands  the job well.

Answer – a

4. The store- owner is trying to minimize (a, an, the, no article) impact of an increase in the cost of natural gas.

Answer – the

5. The expert  said that (a, the, no article) biggest single increase came about because of decreased production of natural gas.

Answer – the

6. The report published in today’s (a, the, no article) newspaper explains the increase in the cost of natural gas.

Answer – no article

7. (The, A, no article) findings were a major puzzle for most readers.

Answer – The

8, There is (a, the, no article) huge ice-covered continent at the bottom of the world.

Answer – a

9, Right now (a, the, no article) earth is experiencing a, sharp rise in temperature.

Answer – the

10. John heard (a, the, no article) dog bark. The  dog was in the neighbor’s yard chasing a cat.

Answer – a

11. Is (the, a, no article)  situation so serious, that a way to prevent human deaths during killer heat wave must be found?

Answer –  the

12. The, A, An, no article) number one threat to an estimated 22,000 polar bears  is climate change.

Answer –  The

13. In (the, a, an, no article) U.S. Journal of Science, scientists produced pictures of  strange lines made by a, group of worm-like animals millions of years ago.

Answer –  the

14. The, change in temperature over (the, a, an, no article) period of 100 years  has caused  sea ice to shrink six percent.

Answer – a

15. Polar bears face (the, a, an, no article) impacts from hunting, toxic pollutants and future development in the, Arctic.

Answer – the

16. Studies show  that (the, a, an, no article) polar bears come ashore  about 25 pounds lighter when the, ice breaks up two weeks early.

Answer – no article

17. U.S. scientists concluded that (the, a, an, no article) huge asteroid wiped out most of the, plants and animals of the, Jurassic era.

Answer – a

18. Research adds to (the, a, an, no article) theory that there was a, comet or asteroid impact about 200 million years ago.

Answer – the

19. (The, A, An, no article) rare elements on Earth are more common in comets and  asteroids.

Answer – no article

20. The earth contains many elements not found on the moon or (the, a, an, no article) planets in the solar system.