What is the Function of Articles in a Sentence?
The following are the articles used in standard English: A, An, and The. ‘A’ and ‘An’ are considered indefinite articles. These are to be used only with singular count nouns as well as to talk about something that falls into a broader category. Some examples would be: a dog, an emu, a fruit. ‘The’ is to be used before both count nouns and non-count nouns. Some examples would be: the store, the pier, and the sand.
Function of Articles
Articles refers to the words “a,” “an,” and “the.” They come before a noun and provide important information. “A” and “an” are what we call the indefinite articles. They are used in the same circumstances, except “a” comes before words that start with a consonant, and “an” comes before words that start with a vowel.
You use “a” and “an” before singular count nouns, and to discuss all members of a category. An example of a singular count noun would be, zebra or elephant. These words are both singular, they’re not plural, and they’re count nouns, because you’re able to count the amount of zebras or elephants, and you can make these words plural if you need to.
We would put “a” before zebra, because zebra starts with a consonant. We put “an” before elephant because it starts with a vowel. It would be awkward to say “a elephant,” because you have vowels close together.
Then you also use it to discuss all members of a category, like “a vegetable.” Here, you’re not talking about a specific vegetable, but you’re talking about the category of vegetables as a whole. That’s what you use “a” before.
There are some times it is good to omit “a” or “an.” Like before plural count nouns, and before noncount nouns. Like with the word “zebras.” This is a plural count noun because, earlier we use zebra as a singular count noun.
The zebra is still -or zebras- it’s still a count noun, but this case it’s plural. We’re not going to use “a” before zebras, because you wouldn’t say “a zebras,” that sounds funny. Then you also don’t use it before noncount nouns, like sugar.
Sugar is not something that you count, and so you wouldn’t use “a” or “an” before. Then we come to the word “the,” which is what we call the definite article. You use “the” before count nouns and noncount nouns.
One re- or one scenario that you use them in, is to mention something, or indicate something, that has already been mentioned, like the sugar. Say earlier, the writer had talked about the sugar that was put into the cookies.
Later, the writer might refer back to it, and since it’s always -already been indicated, the writer will say “the sugar,” because they’re talking about a specific amount of sugar that was talked about earlier. It can also be used to indicate a noun identified by an adjective phrase, or an adjective clause.
It can be used to indicate something that’s one of a kind, or it can be used in science to represent all members of a category. It could also be used to indicate that the reader and the writer know something which they refer to, like “the place.”
Here it’s indicating that the writer and the reader understand where “the place” is but, in this case, we don’t really need to identify exactly where “the place” is. Again, articles come before a noun and provide important information.
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Last updated: 10/03/2018