Article Determiners

Definition with Examples

There are three article Determiners in English- a, an, the. As the name suggest Article Determiners are used to determine an article, object or noun in a clause and is always followed by it. For Ex- an apple, a grape, a biscuit, a cheese cake, an alligator, the houseboat etc. We will further study about them in detail and also solve few exercises. Article Determiners are further classified into two categories-

a) Definite Article

There is only one Definite Article and that is ‘The’. It is used when the speaker assumes that the listener knows what he is talking about. For ex-

  • I expect you to give back the book you took from me.
  • The phone I told you about is out of stock.
  • Please be sure that the courier reaches in time.
  • The train we were about to board got delayed.
  • The Sun is hot and so is the day.

In all the above sentences the listener already knows the noun/pronoun which the speaker is referring to. I.e. book, phone, courier, train, sun and day are already familiar to the listener.

Please note that ‘the’ should not be used with the names of countries (can be used with countries having plural names), people, places.

Quickly go through the following sentences-

  • My brother is going to the Nepal. – Incorrect (single country)
  • Raun’s uncle is shifting to the United States of America. – correct(Plural name)
  • Poverty is prime concern in many African nations. – correct
  • I met the Peter today. – incorrect
  • I met Peter today. – correct
  • I am going to the Bangalore tomorrow. – incorrect
  • I am going to Bangalore tomorrow. – correct

b) Indefinite Articles

There are only two indefinite articles- a, an. The simple rule of using ‘a’ and ‘an’ in a sentence is that the ‘an’ is used if the next word starts with a vowel- a, e, i, o, u. Though there are few exceptions to this rule like those words staring with ‘u’ and ‘eu’ should be prefixed by ‘a’ which we will go through in this section. Read the following sentences-

  • A pen on table.
  • A large bowl of sugar.
  • An interesting story.
  • An aero plane was taxiing on the runway.
  • A university. ( starting with – u also doesn’t sound much like a vowel)
  • A European was send on asylum. ( starting with – eu)
  • A car will be waiting for you in the drive way.
  • A whale is larger than an elephant.
  • An umbrella is needed in the rain. ( strongly sounds like a vowel)
  • The flight is delayed by an hour.
  • It is an honour to have you here.

Going through the sentences you must have come across few exceptions, we will go through them one by one to have more clarity on the subject.

  • A University

You must be wondering that why despite starting with a vowel- ‘u’ the word ‘university’ is prefixed by ‘a’? The catch lies in the pronunciation. University sounds like –‘yew’niversity hence is prefixed with- ‘a’.

  • The flight is delayed by an hour.

Even when the word ‘hour’ doesn’t start with a vowel, why is it prefixed by – ‘an’? That is because the words those have a silent ‘h’ and on pronunciation sound like staring with a vowel are always prefixed by –‘a’. For example- an hour, an honor, an honorable gesture, an honest man etc.


  1. Fill In the Blanks

Complete the below sentences with appropriate Article Determiners, and refer to the answer provided at the end.

  • There was _______ ship sailing in the sea.
  • ______ tiger is India’s national animal.
  • There is ________ economist in the board of directors.
  • _______ aero plane was taxing on the runway.
  • ______ apple a day keep the doctor away.
  1. MCQs With Answers

Fill in the sentences with appropriate determiners from the choices provided-

  • Dog is_______ man’s best friend.
    1. a
    2. the
    3. an
  • Bicycle is ________ economical mode of transport.
    1. an
    2. the
    3. a
  • They chose _________ wisest man among themselves.
    1. a
    2. the
    3. an
  • Suddenly________ idea sparked in my mind.
    1. an
    2. a
    3. the
  • My sons are enrolled in _______ University.
    1. an
    2. the
    3. a
  1. True or False

State whether the following sentences are True or False.

  1. A apple a day keep the doctor away.
  2. I was driving through a road when the policeman signaled.
  3. A African Elephant is bigger that its Indian counterpart.
  4. He always has a pen in his pocket.
  5. The man took my book.
  6. The country needs a honest politician.
  7. A future of nation depends on its people.
  8. The flight was delayed by an hour or so.
  9. A mango you gave was rotten.
  10. A cup of coffee is all I desire after a long day.


Fill In The Blanks– 1) a, 2) the, 3) an, 4) an, 5) an

MCQ– 1) a, 2) a, 3) b, 4) a, 5) c

True Or False– 1)false, 2)true, 3)false, 4)true, 5)false, 6)false, 7)false, 8)true, 9)false, 10)true

How you can make True the False ones: Here it is described with reason:

1) ‘An apple’ is the proper formation as ‘apple’ starts with a vowel. i.e. (a, e, i, o, u)

3) An African elephant

5) ‘The man’ is not proper as the ‘man’ is not known to the listener. ‘A man took my book’ is the correct formation.

6) The country needs an honest politician.( ‘h’ is silent and the word sounds starting with a vowel)

7) The future of nation depends on its people.

9) The mango you gave me was rotten.

Related Topics:

Distributive Determiners
Possessive Determiners
Interrogative Determiners
Quantifier Determiners

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