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Are there any simple rules for article usage (“a” vs “the” vs none)
When should I use “a” vs “an”?

Can anyone explain to me when and where to use articles? I always get confused with the usage of a, an, the.

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Sep 18 '11 at 19:26

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    why a downvote? I'm new to this site – Testing31 Sep 18 '11 at 7:37
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    I expect the downvote was because this is an extremely common problem for English learners and you can find plenty of existing web pages explaining them simply by Googling for: a an the. – Hugo Sep 18 '11 at 8:15

Very briefly, 'the' is the definite article and it's placed before nouns when both speaker (or writer) and listener (or reader) know what is being referred to. The indefinite article, 'a' or 'an', is placed before nouns where that is not the case. 'A' is used before nouns whose pronunciation begins with a consonant sound and 'an' is used before nouns whose pronunciation begins with a vowel sound.

There is, however, rather more to it than this (for example, we sometimes don't use an article at all). If you are a non-native speaker there are full explanations in text books for foreign learners of English. There is also a useful tool to help you decide which to use here.

  • can you say me the tools which I can use at free of cost? – Testing31 Sep 18 '11 at 6:46
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    The tool I linked to is free. – Barrie England Sep 18 '11 at 8:40

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