How to use Articles (a/an, the) – Quick & Easy Tips to master

how to use articles

How to use Articles

(a/an, the)


Articles are a very simple yet easily mistaken part of the language. Ever since I started teaching, I have always noticed that English learners either misuse articles or forget to use them within their sentences. So, articles are going to be addressed in this small “article”. Haha….


There are 2 kinds of articles:

  • Definite articles (The)

  • Indefinite articles (a/an)


The main idea behind this is to clarify whether or not you’re talking about a general or specific topic, articles are used with NOUNS. It is as simple as that, hence the names “definite and indefinite”. If you are talking about a specific topic or thing, then use “the”, if not you use (a/an). Before we discuss how to use articles, we should take a look at when to “an” instead of “a”. “an” is used when the word starts with a Vowel.

What is a Vowel?

Vowels are (A, E, I, O, U)

For example:

An Apple, an Engineer, an experiment. An interesting fact


Now that we got this out of the way, let’s see and compare articles

 General specific
Plural —–The


Examples: (singular + General) (A/AN)
  • They have (a) car
  • I found (a) dog
  • She is drinking (a) soda can
  • This is (an) interesting game
Examples: (plural + General) ------
  • they have cars
  • I found dogs
  • She is drinking sodas
  • These are interesting games
Examples: (singular + specific) (THE)
  • He is standing on (the) floor
  • I have the money you need
  • Mike saw the girl, you told me about yesterday

Examples: (plural + Specific) (THE)

  • They have the kids today
  • Jess have the cars in a garage
  • who has the keys?
  • I saw the girls, you told me about yesterday
Special case
  1. Mike went to prison
  2. He went to (a) prison in Mexico
  3. Mike went to (the) prison around the east side


The first sentence is describing the persons state rather than showing how general or specific the prison itself is. E.g.: (he went to hospital) this means that the person is sick and was sent to a hospital to receive treatment.

to be able to really grasp you idea, you should stop comparing that concept to your first language. since, every language represents ideas differently.



A language lover and enthusiast. I grew up with my Egyptian family in England. So, speaking more than 1 language has always been a part of my life. I am a native speaker of both English and Arabic, and It does not just stop at 2 languages. I also teach myself and help others learn. I am an English teacher and a language learner. I teach people using the way I would like to be taught.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *