More about ‘The Articles’.

More about ‘The Articles’.

The articles a/an, the.

The word a (which becomes an when the next word begins with a vowel – a, e, i, o, u) is called the indefinite article because the noun it goes with is indefinite or general.
The word the is known as the definite article and indicates a specific thing.


Use “an” before unsounded “h.” Because the “h” hasn’t any phonetic representation and has no audible sound, the sound that follows the article is a vowel; consequently, “an” is used.

an honorable peace
an honest error

When “u” makes the same sound as the “y” in “you,” or “o” makes the same sound as “w” in “won,” then a is used. The word-initial “y” sound (“unicorn”) is actually a glide [j] phonetically, which has consonantal properties; consequently, it is treated as a consonant, requiring “a.”

a union
a united front
a unicorn
a used napkin
a US ship
a one-legged man

Fill in the gaps:

1. He was _ honest man, who lived _ quiet life among _ villagers.
2. Marriage is _ sacred union between _ man and _ woman.
3. _ US President addressed _ UN and laid out _ vision for _ world filled with sovereign states which worked for _ betterment of their citizens.
4. President Trump’s speech was _ eloquent exposition of his “America First” doctrine but at _ same time contained some fulsome (and perhaps unexpected) praise for _ United Nations as _ body that can bring together sovereign states to tackle _ world’s problems.

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