Though the article is NOT considered a Part of Speech, I want to take the time to look at how this important part of sentences can make or break your writing.
Articles are defined as words that introduce and give information about nouns.
This being said, articles are the most common words in most world languages, and ‘the’ is the most frequently used word in English. (Go back and look at your latest piece of writing and count how many times you’ve used ‘the.’)
There are several types of articles, but the three main ones writers most frequently encounter are: ‘a,’ ‘an,’ and ‘the.’
If you have a noun that is undefined (like ‘a’ or ‘an’), it’s called an indefinite article.
However, when you are referring to something specific (like ‘this,’ ‘the,’ or ‘that’), it becomes a definite article.
So, indefinite articles do NOT refer to a specific object – thus it is NOT definite.
One way to think about it is, if three identical objects were placed in front of you, referring to them by indefinite articles wouldn’t tell you which of the three objects you are referring to.
Conversely, definite articles refer to a specific object. ‘The’ is known as the definite article because it points out a particular object or class.
Other articles that are definite include ‘this,’ and ‘that.’
A good way to think of the definite article is that it specifies which or what you are referring to.