Which one is correct?

  • An apple is green.
  • Apple is green.
  • The apple is green.

Please describe for me.

  • 4
    They are all correct, in their own way. It all depends on context. This question may be more suited to ELL. Search for similar questions in the [articles] tag, for example this one. – Andrew Leach Dec 7 '13 at 8:41
  • No. This is not a homework question. – j.mohsen.88 Dec 7 '13 at 10:07
  • You forgot; "A green apple", "The green apple", "Green apples", "The green apples" and "Green is the apple" ... – Mari-Lou A Dec 7 '13 at 12:08
  • @AndrewLeach: #2 is not grammatical. I can't think of any context where that would sound anything other than wrong. – Mitch Dec 7 '13 at 18:48
  • @Mitch How about describing a paint colour called "Apple"? – Andrew Leach Dec 8 '13 at 10:12

An apple is green.

This is correct when you are talking about a member of a group, something general, for example, fruit. An orange is orange, but an apple is green. A/an is an indefinite article.

Apple is green. This is an unusual sentence, but it could be true if apple is the name of a green child (think Gweneth Paltrow), or you are referring to the color apple. (There is a color called 'apple green'.)

The apple is green.

This is correct when you are referring to a specific apple, the apple you are talking about. The is a definite article; it refers to a particular.

A man and a woman were walking in Oxford Street. The woman saw a dress that she liked in a shop. She asked the man if he could buy the dress for her. He said: "Do you think the shop will accept a cheque? I don't have a credit card."


  • I have never heard the expression "a green child". What does it mean? Do you mean that the child is inexperienced or that it is brought up to follow and respect ecological values? (I'll discard the possibility that the child may actually be green.) – Mari-Lou A Dec 7 '13 at 12:17
  • @Mari-LouA - I'm sorry, I was trying to think of a proper noun, Apple, and could only think of Apple Paltrow. Then I imagined her colored green (maybe with envy, or nausea, or because she ate too much chlorophyll) to fulfill OP's grammatical needs. If this is unpleasant, please change "Apple" to Apple Inc. computer company, who are, I think, maybe a tiny bit "green" ecologically. – anongoodnurse Dec 7 '13 at 12:47
  • Your explanation is clearer now, and green (with envy) is certainly something I have heard before! – Mari-Lou A Dec 7 '13 at 12:54

They are all correct. An apple is green means that you are talking about an instance of a set of apples that are all green. Apple is green means that apple in general is green, which could only be true in very rare cases. The apple is green talks about a particular apple that is already discussed somewhere in the conversation and you just want to say something about its color.

  • 1
    Unless you are talking about the company, e.g. – Ingmar Dec 7 '13 at 9:30
  • @SusanGerard I don't have the context that OP has in mind. In this case the word Apple could be more like an introductory part of a sentence, where you don't need an article. But both are grammatically correct, depending on the context. – Noah Dec 7 '13 at 9:34

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