The main difference between definite articles and indefinite articles is that definite articles are named to the specific noun while indefinite articles are named to a non-specific unive.
Definite Articles vs. Indefinite Articles
Definite articles are used before that noun whose identity is not unknown to the reader, while indefinite articles are used before that noun whose identity is unknown or a noun that is general and not described before. The definite article includes “The”, while the indefinite article includes “a” and “an”
In definite articles “The” is used before a singular or plural noun, on the other hand, in indefinite articles “a” is used before a singular noun that begins with a consonant sound and in the indefinite article “an” is used ” before a singular noun that begins with a vowel sound.
In definite articles, “The” can be used with any noun that has already been mentioned to the reader. On the contrary, in indefinite articles, “a” or “an” is used when the noun is not indicated to the reader.
For example, “Yesterday I ate a mango. The mango was very juicy.” In this example, when talking about mango again, the definite article “the” is used as it refers to the specific noun (mango) now; When saying mango for the first time, the indefinite article “a” is used as a noun that begins with a consonant sound.
Definite articles can be used with singular, plural, and uncountable nouns that the reader already knows. In contrast, the indefinite articles “a” and “an” are used with a singular noun, and an indefinite article “some” is used with plural and uncountable nouns.
|Definite Articles||Indefinite article|
|A determiner (the) that refers to specific nouns and noun phrases is called a definite article.||A determiner (a, an) referring to non-specific nouns and noun phrases are called indefinite articles.|
|“The” used with singular, plural, countable and uncountable nouns||“A, an” used with singular nouns and “some” used with uncountable nouns|
|Noun already mentioned||Noun not mentioned before|
|A noun is known to the reader.||Noun unknown to the reader|
|private noun||Common noun|
|Give me the orange juice you ordered||Give me an orange juice|
What are definite articles?
The articles that refer to the noun already mentioned to the reader and determiner that specifies some particular are called definite articles.
The definite article “The” is used for singular, plural, countable and uncountable nouns when the reader already knows what we are specifically discussing. When a thing is introduced, the indefinite articles “un” or “una” are used, but when the same thing is mentioned again, the definite article “el” is used. The definite article “The” is also used when the clause begins with the word “only”. For example : “The theory of relativity is the basis of physics.” “The” is used with the theory of relativity as it is an incomparable theory with no alternative.
The definite article “The” is used with
- Family names, for example, the fleming family
- Kingdoms (United Kingdom), republics (Dominican Republic), island groups (Jeju Island), states (United States), countries with a plural noun (Philippines), etc.
- Mountain ranges (the Rocky Mountains), oceans (the Atlantic Ocean), rivers (the Amazon).
- Newspapers (New York Times), buildings (the Capitol), organizations (Red Cross), etc.
The definite article “The” cannot be used with
- languages, e.g. e.g. Italian
- Professions, for example, medical
- Years, p. eg 2000
- Names of people, for example, Alina
- Possessive case, for example, Ayesha’s car
- Meals, e.g. eg dinner
- Titles, eg Prince Charles
What are indefinite articles?
The indefinite articles are used with the noun, which is not specified. The indefinite article is used with the noun, which is neither mentioned before nor introduced for the first time. Includes “a” and “an”. The determiner “a” is used before a singular noun that begins with a consonant sound, while the determiner “an” is used before a singular noun that begins with a vowel sound.
The indefinite articles “a” and “an” are used with singular nouns. There is another rare indefinite article, “some”, which is used with uncountable nouns. Generally, the indefinite articles “a” and “an” are not used with plural or uncountable nouns.
Indefinite articles refer to the thing introduced. Mention non-specific nouns. The purpose of the mention or reference is not clear, which means that an additional identity is needed to identify the specific purpose.
For example: “A girl was wearing a pink shirt.” The girl is unknown and she is mentioned for the first time. So, the indefinite article “a” is used as the sound of a noun is consonant. Another example is “A member of SOW was quoted in the article.” In this example, SOW starts with S, which is a consonant, but we’ll check the consonant sound and the vowel sound to use “a” or “an”. S makes a vowel sound, so “an” is used.
- Definite articles denote specific nouns or noun phrases, while indefinite articles denote non-specific nouns or noun phrases.
- Definite articles identify the noun already mentioned, while indefinite articles identify the noun not discussed before.
- Definite articles are used with the noun, which the reader knows in advance; conversely, indefinite articles are used with the noun, which is unrecognized or new to the reader.
- Definite articles include a single determiner “the”, while the indefinite article includes two common determiners “a” and “una”. “Some” are also rare indefinite articles.
- Definite articles are used with every category of noun, singular, plural, countable, or uncountable noun; on the other hand, the indefinite articles “a” and “an” are used only with singular nouns. “Some” can be used with uncountable and plural nouns.
- Definite articles are used with incomparable or unusual things like the Sun, Moon, Bible, etc., while indefinite articles are used for common nouns when talking about them in general, like, I need a bike.
- Definite articles can only be used with the “only” clause. On the contrary, indefinite articles can be used with any type of clause.
- Definite articles are used with rivers, mountains, glaciers, family names, islands, newspapers, organizations, etc. On the other hand, indefinite articles cannot be used with all of the above.
- Definite articles are also used with kingdom names, ordinal numbers, and country names in the plural, while indefinite articles are generally not used with them.
- Definite articles cannot be used with an individual’s name, professions, years, languages, titles, person’s name, possessive case, and foods, etc., while indefinite articles can be used with them conveniently.
Definite articles such as (the) are used with specific nouns and noun phrases that the reader already knows; conversely, the indefinite articles (a, an) are used with nonspecific nouns that are unknown to the reader.