Articles are mainly divided into two categories, these categories are definite and indefinite articles. A definite article is any part of a category of primary words which are employed to mark the reality of the referents of that noun phrase. The other category of articles makes a part of literature. In the English language we have articles which are definite, indefinite, descriptive and prepositionally used. Let’s see how these articles are classified in the following sentences:
In the first sentence the determiners “the”, “a”, “in”, “it” and “that” are used. These determiners indicate the object of a verb. In the second sentence the determiners “a”, “the”, “a”, “it”, “that” and “not” do not indicate an object of a verb. It is obvious that the word “not” in the first sentence is grammatically indefinite. We can take this example as an illustration to demonstrate the point of determiners in English language.
In the first sentence the first word “the” can be a consonant, as in the word “the tree”. But if the word “the” were a vowel, it would have to be written as a consonant or a flat vowel sound, such as an i or an o. “The tree” in the first position cannot be a consonant as the article indicates, but it can be a flat vowel sound, namely an e. In the second position it can be a consonant or a flat vowel. Hence the determiner “the” has to be written as a consonant or flat vowel sound.
When we classify the articles in english grammar we face a few problems. In order to solve these problems we have to be clear about some fundamental aspects of language, such as the distinction between pronouns and articles, the difference between definite and indefinite articles, the distinction between subject and object of a sentence, etc. It is also important to remember that the articles “the”, “he”, “it” and “they” can appear in classifiers as adjectives, and in verbs as predicates. This makes clear the difference between articles used as definite articles, as well as indefinite articles.
For our discussion on articles in English grammar, we will deal mainly with the two types of articles: the article used as a subject in a statement; and the article used as a noun in a statement. As the students get used to learning articles they will notice the distinction between articles as a subject and as a noun. The subject articles are usually written as the object of a verb, and the articles used as a noun are usually written as a subject. In our simple long day example above we have: The teacher said to the student, “It was a long day.” If the teacher had written, “It was a long day for learning,” then the student would have understood the difference.
The above examples are only three of many potential uses of articles in English. Although the above list is by no means complete, it does give students a good place to start. They will soon be able to recognize the difference between unspecific pronouns and articles that describe specific objects.