Article (grammar)

An article (with the linguistic glossing abbreviation ART) is a word that is used with a noun (as a standalone word or a prefix or suffix) to specify grammatical definiteness of the noun, and in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope.

The articles in English grammar are the and a/an, and in certain contexts some. "An" and "a" are modern forms of the Old English "an", which in Anglian dialects was the number "one" (compare "on" in Saxon dialects) and survived into Modern Scots as the number "owan". Both "on" (respelled "one" by the Norman language) and "an" survived into Modern English, with "one" used as the number and "an" ("a", before nouns that begin with a consonant sound) as an indefinite article.

In many languages, articles are a special part of speech which cannot be easily combined[clarification needed] with other parts of speech. In English grammar, articles are frequently considered part of a broader category called determiners, which contains articles, demonstratives (such as "this" and "that"), possessive determiners (such as "my" and "his"), and quantifiers (such as "all" and "few").[1] Articles and other determiners are also sometimes counted as a type of adjective, since they describe the words that they precede.[2]

In languages that employ articles, every common noun, with some exceptions, is expressed with a certain definiteness, definite or indefinite, as an attribute (similar to the way many languages express every noun with a certain grammatical number—singular or plural—or a grammatical gender). Articles are among the most common words in many languages; in English, for example, the most frequent word is the.[3]

Articles are usually categorized as either definite or indefinite.[4] A few languages with well-developed systems of articles may distinguish additional subtypes. Within each type, languages may have various forms of each article, due to conforming to grammatical attributes such as gender, number, or case. Articles may also be modified as influenced by adjacent sounds or words as in elision (e.g., French "le" becoming "l'" before a vowel), epenthesis (e.g., English "a" becoming "an" before a vowel), or contraction (e.g. Irish "i + na" becoming "sna").

Definite article

The definite article is used to refer to a particular member of a group or class. It may be something that the speaker has already mentioned or it may be something uniquely specified. There is one definite article in English, for both singular and plural nouns: the:

The children know the fastest way home.

The sentence above refers to specific children and a specific way home; it contrasts with the much more general observation that:

Children know the fastest ways home.

The latter sentence refers to children in general and their specific ways home. Likewise,

Give me the book.

refers to a specific book whose identity is known or obvious to the listener; it has a markedly different meaning from

Give me a book.

which uses an indefinite article, which does not specify what book is to be given.

The definite article can also be used in English to indicate a specific class among other classes:

The cabbage white butterfly lays its eggs on members of the Brassica genus.

However, recent developments show that definite articles are morphological elements linked to certain noun types due to lexicalization. Under this point of view, definiteness does not play a role in the selection of a definite article more than the lexical entry attached to the article.[clarification needed][5][6]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Lidwoord
asturianu: Artículu
Bân-lâm-gú: Koàn-sû
беларуская: Артыкль
български: Членуване
bosanski: Član
brezhoneg: Ger-mell
català: Article
čeština: Člen (mluvnice)
Cymraeg: Bannod
dansk: Kendeord
فارسی: حرف تعریف
føroyskt: Kenniorð
Frysk: Lidwurd
Gàidhlig: Alt (gràmar)
한국어: 관사
hrvatski: Član
Bahasa Indonesia: Artikel (kelas kata)
íslenska: Greinir
ქართული: არტიკლი
қазақша: Артикль
Кыргызча: Артикль
latviešu: Artikuls
Lëtzebuergesch: Artikel (Grammaire)
lietuvių: Artikelis
Limburgs: Lidwoord
magyar: Névelő
македонски: Член (граматика)
Malagasy: Mpanoritra
Nederlands: Lidwoord
日本語: 冠詞
norsk nynorsk: Ordklassen artikkel
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Artikl
Plattdüütsch: Artikel (Woortoort)
polski: Przedimek
русский: Артикль
Seeltersk: Geslächtswoud
Simple English: Article (grammar)
српски / srpski: Gramatički član
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Član (gramatika)
тоҷикӣ: Артикл
Türkçe: Tanımlık
українська: Артикль
中文: 冠词