The Articles

The Articles - The Articles The three articles a an the are a kind of adjective The is called the definite article because it usually precedes a

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The Articles The three articles — a, an, the — are a kind of adjective. The is called the definite article because it usually precedes a specific or previously mentioned noun; a and an are called indefinite articles because they are used to refer to something in a less specific manner (an unspecified count noun). These words are also listed among the noun markers or determiners because they are almost invariably followed by a noun (or something else acting as a noun). CAUTION! Icy highways are dangerous. The icy highways are dangerous. And both are correct. The is used with specific nouns. The is required when the noun it refers to represents something that is one of a kind: The moon circles the earth. The is required when the noun it refers to represents something in the abstract: The United States has encouraged the use of the private automobile as opposed to the use of public transit. The is required when the noun it refers to represents something named earlier in the text. (See below. .) We use a before singular count-nouns that begin with consonants ( a cow, a barn, a sheep ); we use an before singular count-nouns that begin with vowels or vowel-like sounds ( an apple, an urban blight, an open door ). Words that begin with an h sound often require an a (as in a horse, a history book, a hotel ), but if an h-word begins with an actual vowel sound, use an an ( as in an hour, an honor ). We would say a useful device and a union matter because the u of those words actually sounds like yoo (as opposed, say, to the u of an ugly incident). The same is true of a European and a Euro (because of that consonantal "Yoo" sound). We would say a once-in-a- lifetime experience or a one-time hero because the words once and one begin with a w sound (as if they were spelled wuntz and won). Merriam-Webster's Dictionary says that we can use an before an h- word that begins with an unstressed syllable.
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2011 for the course FILM 102 taught by Professor Sadzd during the Spring '11 term at Crossroads.

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The Articles - The Articles The three articles a an the are a kind of adjective The is called the definite article because it usually precedes a

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