AN INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR & LANGUAGE
(i) In exclamations before singular, countable nouns : (d) Before the names of certain books:
What a foolish boy!, What a pretty girl! The Vedas, The Ramayan, The Mahabharat, The Bible,
Such a long queue! The Iliad.
What a beautiful building! (e) Before the names of certain material nouns; Only in
(j) As a rule a/an is not used before uncountable nouns specified cases :
but there are some exceptions : The water of the ganges.
On an average, to take an interest in, to give a warn-
(f) With superlatives :
ing, a short time ago, to be in a temper; a wrong use
The best, the darkest etc.
of, to make a good guess at,
Have [a headache / a pain / a cold / a cough / a bath (g) ‘The’ is used before other proper names consisting of
/ a drink / a talk / a rest / a walk / a meal / a bear / Adjective + Noun or Noun + of + Noun :
a shame / a shave / a conservation / a good education (h) Before rank or title :
/ a knowledge / a good knowledge / a pity / a sleep / The Captain, The Chairman, The Principal
a good sleep / a dream / a chat / a quarrel / a fight / (i) Before Musical Instruments :
a swim / a ride / a good day / a bad day / a disagree- The harmonium, The piano, The violin, etc.
ment / a try / a go/ make /a wrong use of / a noise /
(j) The with names of people has a very limited use the +
a mistake] in a hurry; in a diagram, as a rule etc.
plural surname can be used to mean ‘the .... family’ :
(k) One is the Pronoun equivalent of a/an;
(k) With ordinals; as,
Did you get a ticket ?
̄ the first, the second, the tenth etc.
(here a means one) (l) With newspaper/organisa-tion/community.
— Yes, I managed to get one. The Times of India
Omission of A/An The Hindustan Times
A/an is omitted : The U.N.O., The W.T.O.,
(a) Before plural nouns. For example, Books, dogs, girls, The Hindu (Community)
(m) When proper noun is used as common.
(b) Before Proper Noun : Ram, Atal, India, Delhi
Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India.
A/an is used before common Noun Singular Num-
ber (Shakespeare is a Proper Noun but here
(c) Before Uncountable Nouns : Shakespeare means a great dramatist)
Milk, oil, gold, tea etc. (n) As an Adverb with compara-tives.
(d) But to show single item of Countable Noun, we use... (o) Before Comparative Degree, if ‘of the two’ has been
a...of + Uncountable Noun’. As, used with it.
A cup of tea A bottle of milk (p) The is used with a host of general expressions that
(e) Before names of meals, except when there are pre- refer to our physical environment — the world around
ceded by an adjective. us and its climate — or to other common features of
(f) Articles are often dropped in double expressions, par- our life. For example, the town, the country, the sea,
ticularly with preposition. the mountains, the weather (General expression)
With Wife and fork (q) We often use the to refer to well-known, well-defined
With hat and coat
groups of people (e.g. nationalities), even when we are
From top to bottom
talking about these in general.
On land and sea
Arm in arm The Indians, The English (The people of England not
Inch by inch English language)
Day after day (r) Before the names of political parties :
Use of the Definite Article The Bharatiya Janata Party
The Definite Article the is used — The Labour Party
(a) When we speak of a particular person or thing, or one The Communist Party
already referred to. For example, (s) Before ’Armed Froces’ and law enforcing agencies.
I like the book. (That book is known to us).
the Army the Air Force
(b) When a singular is meant to represent a whole class;
the Navy the Police
The cow is a useful animal. (t) With physical positions :
(or we may say ‘Cows are useful animals’) the inside, the top, the back, the outside, the bottom,
(c) The definite article is used when the object or group of the front etc.
objects is unique or considered to be unique or with (u) With names of branches of the Government :
certain proper names : the Judiciary, the legislative,
the Persian Gulf, the himalyas, The Ganges, the earth, (v) With Appositions,
the sea, the equator, the stars, the moon, The red sea, Sumanji, the poet
the Alps, The Indian ocean, The Bay of Bengal, The
Shakespeare, the dramatist.
top, The bottom, The East Indies, The Andmans, The
Advani, the politician
Punjab, The Sudan, The Congo, The U.S.A.