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Rules for articles for SSC CGL Exam

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Rules for articles for SSC CGL Exam

Rules for articles for SSC CGL Exam


An article is a word or a letter which is used before noun and tells about the certainty of that noun".

There are two types of articles :

(i) Indefinite articles: A, AN

(ii) Definite article: The

(i) A or AN is called the Indefinite Article because it mentions an indefinite person or thing.


(a) A boy means any boy.

(b) A teacher means any teacher.

For example, if I say, "Let's read the book," I mean a specific book. If I say, "Let's read a book," I mean any book rather than a specific book.

Rules to Use article "A/An"

 1. ?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ????? ?? ?? ????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?? ? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? (? ? ? ? .......? ) ??? ?? ?? ?? an ?? ?????? ????, ?? ??? ???? (? ? ? .......) ?? ?? ?? a ?? ?????? ???? )

For an example-

An MLA .Although MLA begins with M but while we pronounce it the sound is of (?).You may also write in hindi and see it will be written as ?? ?? ? while checking out the first sound we find a vowel sound there so an will be used. Similar is the case with an MA degree, an SP, an LLB degree etc.

2. 'A' is used before some indefinite numbers.

Example:. (a) A lot of (b) a number of (c) a great deal of (d) a half of a large number of (e) a quarter of

3. ‘A’ can be used before some indefinite collective numbers.


(a) a team of (b) a gang of (c) a flock of (d) a herd of (e) a swarm of (f) a panel of (g) a bunch of

4.If an adjective is followed by a singular noun, we use ‘A’ before that adjective.


(a) Shravya is beautiful(Adjective) girl(noun)—wrong;

(b) Shravya is a beautiful girl —correct

5. 'A' is used instead of 'per".

(a) Petrol is sold at Rs. twenty-five a litre.

(b) Apples are sold at sixty rupees a kg.

6. To show the whole class of common noun we can use ‘A’ before a common noun.

Example:             (a) A bird has two wings.

(b) A monkey has a tail.

Exception: But, common noun like Man and Woman used to represent the human race do not follow the above rule.

Example: (a) A man is mortal.—wrong

(b) Man is mortal. —correct

(c) Woman is more emotional than man. (correct)


7. Note that in English, the indefinite articles are used to indicate membership in a profession, nationality status, or religion.

(a)  I am a teacher.

(b)  Brian is an Irishman.

(c) Seiko is a practicing Buddhist.

(d) He is a doctor.

8. If we put article 'A’ before plural number the forthcoming noun becomes singular.

Example: (a) A five day match. (b) A ten mile walk. (c) A fifteen man committee.

Example: (a) Five days match. (b) Ten miles walk. (c) Fifteen men committee.

9. ‘A‘ is used before these words because they have the sound of consonant in their first letters.

Example: (a) A university. (b) A union. (c) A unique film.(d) A European. (e) A one-rupee note.  (f) A one-eyed person. (g) A one-act play. (h) A one-sided decision.

10.If  singular noun is placed after many, such, quite, rather, how etc., we use ‘A’ before that noun.


(a) I have never seen such girl in my life.—wrong;

I have never seen such a girl in my life.—correct

(b) Roma is quite dull girl.—wrong;

Roma is quite a dull girl.—correct

(c) It was such a silly statement.

11. If these words are used in singular, we use 'A' before them; Noise, Lie, Hole, Headache (words ending in ache), commotion etc.


(a) The student makes noise in the class. —wrong.

The student makes a noise in the class.—correct

(b) Jonny always tells lie.—wrong;

Jonny always tells a lie.—correct

12. If the noun is modified by an adjective, the choice between a and an depends on the initial sound of the adjective that immediately follows the article:

(a) a broken egg  (b) an unusual problem (c) a European country

13. A/An is used in the following phrases.

In a minute, In a fix, in a hurry, in a nutshell, make a noise, make a foot, keep a secret, as a rule, at a stone's throw, a short while ago, at a loss, take a fancy to, taken an interest in, take a liking, a pity, tell a lie.

14. A/An is not used in the following phrases.

To lose heart, to set foot, to give ear, at home, last but not least, to catch fire, in hand, set on fire, by car/ bus etc, at last, by mistake, in danger, to take heart.

15. A/An is used before a word which is generally used as a verb but is being used as a noun in a sentence.

(a) We drink water. (Verb)

He purchased a drink. (Noun)

(b) People fight over small issues. (Verb)

We witnessed a fight in the market. (Noun)

16.In exclamatory sentences beginning with what if singular countable noun is used then a/an will be used before the noun.

(a) What a beautiful day!

(b) What a tough question!

17.An article (a/an) is not used after kind of, sort of, type of, variety of.

(a) What variety of a mango is this? (incorrect)

(b) What variety of mango is this? (correct)

18. A/An is used in the vague sense of ‘a certain’ as-

A Ravi Sharma is suspected by the police.

(Ravi Sharma is a proper noun so it should not take an article but here it is referring to a certain person Ravi Sharma whom we don’t know which means the sense is vague and not clear.)

19. A is used with certain numbers. Eg a hundred, a thousand, a million etc.

A is more common than one before thousand, million, billion etc.

(a) There were a hundred rupees to be paid.

(b) There were a hundred people in the playground.

20 A is used before half when half  ; when half follows a whole number.

1 ½ kilos -  one and a half kilos or a kilo and a half. Here one is seen as a whole number.

But ½  kg or half a kilo. No a is to be used before half.

21 Omit a/an before uncountable nouns, such as sugar, music, gold, silver etc.

22 The expressions "a few" and "a little" mean "some" and express the idea that you have more than expected.


He always carries a few dollars in case of an emergency..

He had a little difficulty with his homework but he managed somehow.

She has a few friends who can help her move.

HOWEVER: The expressions "few" and "little" (without an article) mean "not much" and express the idea that you have less than expected. (It is negative)


Unfortunately, I had little time to enjoy in Mt Abu because I had to work so much.

Sadly, he has met very few interesting people in his life.

They have little money, so their daughter cannot pay for her trip.



THE is called a definite article. "Definite" means "specific". Use THE when talking about something which is already known to the listener or which has been previously mentioned, introduced, or discussed.

Examples: I have a cat. The cat is black.

There is a book in my backpack. The book is very heavy.

Do you know where I left the car keys? The listener knows which specific car keys you are talking about.


Use THE with superlatives such as "the best", "the biggest", "the most important", "the least interesting", etc.

Examples: This is the best day ever.

That is the most expensive hotel room I've ever stayed in my life.

He told the funniest story.


English speakers often use THE plus a singular noun when they talk about or make generalizations about certain topics, including:

  1. animals (the leopard, the elephant, the lowland gorilla)
  2. inventions (the steam engine, the plane, the light bulb)
  3. currencies (the dollar, the euro, the yen)
  4. body parts (the head, the eye, the ear)


The Wright brothers invented the aeroplane.

Right now, the euro is stronger than the dollar.

Madhu got poked in the eye.


Generally, articles are not used with the names of illnesses or diseases.

Examples:  Dr Veena visits schools and universities to educate students on cancer.

Oncologists are doctors who specialize in treating cancer.

There are several medications that can be used to treat malaria.

Exceptions: There are some illnesses which require THE. Example -the measles, the flu, the mumps, the  plague.

MOREOVER: There are a few health conditions or illnesses which can be used with both A(AN) as well as THE and follow general article use. This category includes most aches, pains, growths, and attacks.

Examples- a cold , a heart attack , a stroke , a tumor / growth / etc., a sore throat / sore back/ sore foot / etc.

a headache / toothache / backache / etc.

Examples:  John has a cold. The cold was very bad.

Madhu had a heart attack. The heart attack seriously weakened her heart.

Mam had a sore throat. The sore throat made it hard to talk.


If a direction (north, west, southeast, left, right) directly follows a verb, do not use an article with the direction.

Examples:           We need to walk south.

They drove north all day.

At the stop sign, turn left and walk three blocks.

HOWEVER: If a direction follows a preposition, you must use THE.

Examples:Our house is in the north.

The grocery store is on the right.

MOREOVER: Use THE when referring to a place as special geographic or cultural region.

Examples:  We love the South.

Have you ever visited the East?

The West has better national parks.

Note – Do not confuse names of places with directions. Example- West Bengal is the name of a place and not a direction.


Article the is not used before names of persons.

Example  Ram has topped the class.

Ravi is my brother.

When can use a/an before the names of persons whom we do not know. When we know the person we do not use a/an.

Example- Indu wants to talk to you.( The speaker and listener both know Indu)

There is a Ravi on the line who wants to talk to you.( Instead of a , some can also be used. Here the listener and the speaker are not aware of who Ravi is)

Sometimes we compare a person to some historical or other well known personality for certain specific traits. In such sentences a/an will be used.

Example – He is a Sachin (Means he plays cricket very well)

He is a Vishwanathan Anand (Means he plays chess very well)

His younger brother is a Lakshman.( Means he is very devoted to his elder brother)

But sometimes we wish to be more specific.

He is a Sachin.( Just a simple comparison so use a only)

He is the Sachin of our school cricket team.( Here it is clearly mentioned that he is the Sachin of our school cricket team. It becomes definite so ‘The’ will be used before Sachin)


THE can be used with plural family names to refer to the family as a group if it is a powerful and well recognized family.


The Gandhis are very powerful in Indian politics.

The Bachchans are originally from Allahabad.

My brother lives next door to the Ambanis.


THE can be combined with certain adjectives to refer to a group of people such as "the blind", "the elderly", "the rich", "the French", "the powerful ", etc.

Examples: He is elderly. (Adjective)

The organization helps the elderly. (Elderly people)

REMEMBER: This is especially important in situations where nationalities or ethnic groups and their languages might be confused. In such situations, THE is used to specify that we are talking about the nationality or ethnic group rather than the language.

Examples: I like French. (Language)

I like the French. (The French people)


Do not use THE with the names of most countries unless the name contains a word such as "States", "Kingdom", "Republic", "Emirates", "Union", "Coast", etc.

Examples: I love Italy.

Madhu used to live in Japan.

He lives in the United States.


Use THE with the names of:

  1. oceans
  2. seas
  3. coasts
  4. rivers
  5. swamps
  6. archipelagos
  7. collections of lakes (such as the Great Lakes)
  8. mountain chains
  9. deserts
  10. references on the globe (such as the Equator, the North Pole)
  11. geographic regions (such as the Northwest, the Middle East)
  12. bridges (except Tower Bridge)
  13. pagodas
  14. hotels
  15. theaters
  16. museums
  17. institutes
  18. skyscrapers
  19. the Sun, the Moon
  20. extraordinary works of art or architecture (such as the Great Wall of China, and the Taj Mahal)


I would love to visit the North Pole.

Note : But if the name of a bridge, museum etc is after the name of a person or place we do not use the before it.

He met me at Lakshmi Bai Chowk.

I dropped him at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

I met him at the Mall road. (Here the road’s name is mall road which is not the name of a person so ‘The’ will be used.)

(Since the names of places have names of persons in them so article ‘The’will not be used.)


Do not use an article with:

  1. individual lakes
  2. individual islands
  3. beaches
  4. waterfalls
  5. individual mountains (Kanchenjunga)
  6. streets
  7. public squares
  8. hospitals
  9. stadiums
  10. malls
  11. parks
  12. churches
  13. temples
  14. universities
  15. colleges
  16. languages
  17. religions
  18. days of the week
  19. the months of the year
  20. holidays
  21. Names of meals
  22. Names of subjects
  23. Names of hobbies
  24. Names of games

HOWEVER: There are additional exceptions to some of the above categories. For example, THE is often used in the pattern "the ... of ...".

Examples: The University of Colorado

The Temple of Connaught Place


THE  is used in some time expressions such as:

in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, during the night, during the day, the day before yesterday, the day after tomorrow, the fall, the summer

Examples: We'll meet in the afternoon.

There was a small earthquake during the night.

Exception: In other time expressions, no article is used:

at night, at noon, at midnight, all day, all month, every month, every year, last night, last Friday, yesterday, tomorrow


Did you sleep well last night?

I'll see you tomorrow.

We are meeting for lunch at noon.


When a thing or group of things is unique we use the article the before it.


The earth, the sky , the sun , the equator , the rainbow, the universe, the pole star, the north pole etc.


Before a noun which the speaker and the listener are both aware of .


Please pass me the knife.

Let us go to the park.

Open the book and do the exercise.


Before a noun which has become definite as a result of being mentioned for the second time.

Example –

His car hit against a wall. The scratches are still visible on the car. (The same car has been mentioned for the second time so it has become definite.)


Article the is used before ordinals.(First, second, third ,fourth …………etc are ordinals)

Example –

The fifth chapter is about ordinals.

The seventh table is reserved.

Note 1: If next or last is used before time expression such as month , Monday , June , year week etc we don’t use an article before them.

Note 2 : In some idioms and expressions we don’t use the before next and last.


The is used before names of political parties. Eg The Congress, The Bhartiya Janta Party, The Socialist Party.


The is used before names of religious books.

Example : The Ramayan , The Mahabharat, The Purana ,The Geeta etc.


The is used before the names of a museum/library/ theatre/club/ hotel/restaurant.

Example- The Apsara (theatre) ,The Grand Hotel, The British Library, The Lion’s club etc.


The is used before the names of newspapers.

Example-The Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Dainik Bhaskar etc.


The is used before words referring to physical environment.

Example- the fog, the rain, the sunshine, the countryside , the wind etc.


The is used before names of musical instruments .But when we refer to them as countable noun we use a/an.

Example – The flute is a wind instrument.

I can play the piano.

I want to buy a harmonium.

Rule 22

The is used before radio/television (t v). But when we refer to them as countable noun we use a/an. In case of television if there is watch or on before the word television/t v then we drop the. Example – I watch tv at night.

Where is the radio?

I left the radio on the shelf.

I want to buy a new tv.

Rule 23

The word same and whole are preceded by the.

Example : The whole milk turned sour.

This is the same jacket that you wore yesterday.

The whole class participated.

Rule 24

The is used before names of ships, aeroplanes and trains.

Example : The Rajdhani Express , The Shatabadi express, The Titanic etc.

Rule 25

Article the is used before names of dynasties , historical events , historical periods and empires.

Example : The Chola period, The Marathas, The Harappan Age, The first Battle Of Panipat, The French Revolution, The slave dynasty, The Rajputs etc.

Rule 26

The is used before names of Armed Forces.

Example : the police , the army, the navy, the air force.

Rule 27

The is used before names of government branches

Example :The judiciary, the legislature, the executive

Rule 28

The is used before the name of a part of body if it has a preposition before it.

a) She hit me ON THE cheek.

b) He looked her IN THE eyes and told her that she was telling a lie.

Note-THE is not used in some idioms if they are formed of a PREPOSITION + PART OF THE BODY.

Examples : at hand; in hand; on foot; an eye for an eye.

Rule 29

If ALL OF, EITHER OF, NEITHER OF, EACH OF, MOST OF, SOME OF, BOTH OF, HALF OF , NONE OF, etc follow a noun, we use THE before that noun.

a) All of the students at Pinnacle come to give the test regularly on Sunday.

b) Some of the rice; half of the juice; none of the cement; most of the milk.

NOTE-: If BOTH is following a noun; it's optional to use THE before that noun.

Both the girls are good students. OR Both girls are good students.

Rule 30

Usage of ‘The’ in comparative form.

i) If 'OF THE TWO' is there after a comparative degree; we use THE before that comparative.

a) He is THE BETTER OF THE TWO students.

b) Hisar is THE cheaper OF THE TWO cities.

ii) We should use comparatives with THE----THE---- to say that things change or vary

together, or the two variable quantities are systematically related. In those sentences where two comparatives are mentioned and they are directly or indirectly related we have to use the before both the comparatives.

a) The higher we go the colder we feel.

b) THE MORE they get, THE MORE they want.

c) THE OLDER he gets, THE WEAKER he becomes.

iii) If there is only one comparative in the sentence and it's following a singular countable

noun, we use A/AN before that comparative.

a) He is A BETTER doctor in this field than Rajiv.

b) This is a cheaper version than that one.


1. Before abstract and other uncountable nouns except when they are used for a definite case.


a) Hard work leads to success. (hard work is an abstract noun)

b) The hard work of Sachin is well known in the cricketing world. (But here the hard work is definite-It is Sachin’s hard work)

c) Dedication is a rare quality.

d) The dedication of the Director at Pinnacle is unbelievable.

2. Omit the article The when used before material nouns when used in general sense

i) GOLD is a precious metal.                     ii) We cannot live without water.

NOTE: But a material noun when is used in specific sense we use THE before it; e.g.

a) THE GOLD OF THIS ring is of the finest quality.

b) THE SUGAR I HAVE BOUGHT has been misplaced by someone.

3. Omit the before names of festivals Christmas, Independence Day, New Year, Diwali, Easter.

4. If a noun or nouns are used after TYPE OF, KIND OF, SORT OF, VARIETY OF they are not preceded by THE.

5. After POST OF, RANK OF, POSITION OF, JOB OF the is not used before nouns.

Example: Post of head clerk , Position of a watchman, job of sweeper etc.

6. When any 'means of transport'  is preceded by BY, do not use the before the mode of transport.

Example: I will travel by the car.(Incorrect) I will travel by car.(Correct)

7. In case of names of seasons THE is optional; means both are correct we can use the and may omit it also.

Example: In spring and in the spring are both correct.


Rules for articles for SSC CGL Exam, Rules for articles 

The article THE is not used before WORK when WORK is used as a place of work.

I am going to the work.(Incorrect)

I am going to work.(Correct)


The article THE is used before WORK when WORK is used as a place of work.

He is at/in THE OFFICE.


The article THE is not used with HOME when HOME is not preceded or followed by a descriptive word/phrase.

i) He is at HOME right now so you can call him. (You see the word HOME here neither is preceded nor followed by a descriptive word)

ii) He went HOME. iii) I arrived HOME after dark.

NOTE-: But when HOME is preceded or followed by a descriptive word/phrase/clause, it is treated like any other noun


ii) He arrived at THE BRIDE’S HOME with a number of friends.

iii) For some years this was THE HOME OF YOUR President. (the word HOME here is followed by a descriptive

phrase OF YOUR President)