ARTICLES IN ENGLISH
Articles in English grammar are divided into two sections; specific and nonspecific.
English learners sometimes get confused in how to use them and for this reason we define them with more examples here.
a/an are the two nonspecific articles that are used in sentences to define singular and non-count nouns. Nouns that are not known to the listeners.
He gave me an apple.
I have a car and a big house.
She has a cat.
They have a son.
We don’t have a telephone.
As you can see from the examples the nouns (apple, car, house, cat, son, and telephone) are nonspecific and countable. Therefore, they need an article before them but for apple that starts with a vowel sound “a” the article “an” is used. (vowel sounds are a, I, o, e, u).
“the” is the specific article that is used in sentences to define singular or plural nouns that are specific and known to listeners.
This is the place where I grew up.
There is the park where I go for jogging.
That is the teacher whom I told you about.
Here is the dress I bought yesterday.
As you can see from the examples all the nouns (place, park, teacher, dress) are known and specific for the listener, therefore the article “the” is used.
Omission of articles
Occasionally, articles are omitted altogether before certain nouns. In these cases, the article is implied but not actually present. This implied article is sometimes called a “zero article.” Often, the article is omitted before nouns that refer to abstract ideas. Look at the following examples:
Let’s go out for lunch today.
Creativity is very valuable to people.
In the two sentences mentioned above the nouns (lunch, and creativity) don’t need an article.
By doing more exercise relating to the subject you can have more confidence about using them in your everyday conversation.
Hope the explanations and the examples are clear enough for you.