Articles are words placed in front of nouns to indicate if the noun is referring to something specific or general. There are two different types of articles, definite and indefinite articles. The definite article, the, is used when the noun we are referring to is specific. Here are some examples:
- The man is walking down the street. (We point out a specific man.)
- I’ve got the tickets for the show, so we’re ready to go. (We refer to a specific set of tickets.)
On the contrary, an indefinite article, a or an, is used when the noun we are referring to is unspecified:
- A man is walking down the street. (I make a general observation that does not single out a specific person.)
- I bought a jacket for my trip to Chicago. (Not a specific jacket.)
Note that indefinite articles are only used with singular nouns. At times the word some can be included in the sentence, but this is optional:
- The children write words on a piece of paper.
- The children write some words on a piece of paper.
- The office building next door is under construction.
- An office building is under construction.
- Are you planning to go to the party tonight?
- Are you going to a party today?
- Would you like an apple or a pear?