Articles are words used before a noun and functions as an adjective. There are two types of articles – definite and indefinite. “The” is a definite article, while “a” and “an” are indefinite articles. Look at these examples:
- A picture is worth a thousand words.
- The man who came just now was my uncle.
- An unusual picture is worth a thousand dollars.
In Example #1, the article “a” is used because we refer to any picture. Thus it is indefinite which picture we are referring to. However, in Example #2, we know which man we’re referring to – my uncle (the man who came to my house). Articles are used with singular nouns only; plural nouns do not have articles.
What? Another one? Yes. This is what I call an invisible article. When you write or say something factual, or when the noun is plural, an article is not used. Here are some examples:
- Dogs can’t fly.
- Schools are closed on Sundays.
- Computers need humans to provide input.
The rules for its correct usage is indefinite. Quite often, you’ll end up using what you feel sounds right. 😀