Is Article An Adjective? 7 Facts (Read This First)


‘Is article an adjective?’, this is the question that we will address in this article. We shall find the answer to the above question with the help of various examples and facts.

‘A’, ‘an’ and ‘the’ are the three articles in the English language and grammar. Articles are words which are utilized to show the noun’s general nature or specific nature. Adjectives are words which modifies the naming words (nouns or pronouns) by modifying, quantifying, or qualifying them.

When is article an adjective?

Article is an adjective when it is placed or located in front of a noun, pronoun or a noun phrase it is modifying.

Example: Reetu bought a bag yesterday.

In this sentence, the indefinite article used is ‘a’ and it is also functioning as an adjective. Yes, the article ‘a’ here, is present before the singular countable noun ‘bag’ (a thing) thus telling us that it is some unspecific and general bag.

Why is article an adjective?

Adjectives are words that take up the role of giving extra information about the nouns. An article is an adjective, since it is giving us additional and extra information on the noun, by telling us whether the noun is specific and known or general and unknown, thus revealing the identity of the noun.

Example: Rahul is the manager of our company.

‘The’ is the definite article in this sentence. The article ‘the’ is functioning as an adjective since it is modifying the singular countable noun ‘manager’ (a person), before which it is present. The usage of the article ‘the’ in this sentence, tells to us that the identity of the noun ‘manager’ is known and specific as it is referring to a particular person (Rahul).

How is article an adjective?

As all of us know, adjective is a part of speech that does the function of saying something extra about the nouns, pronouns or noun phrases in a sentence. In that way, an article (an, a and the) too does the same work as they are present in front of the nouns, pronouns or noun phrases that they are qualifying by saying their definiteness or indefiniteness.

Example: Do you have an umbrella with you?

‘An’ is the indefinite article used before the singular countable noun ‘umbrella’ (a thing). The article ‘an’ is used here as the noun umbrella starts with a vowel ‘u’. The article, ‘an’ performs the function of an adjective as its usage indicates to us that some unknown and unspecific umbrella is what is meant in this sentence.

What type of adjective are articles?

Though all the types of adjectives perform a common function of modifying and describing singular or plural nouns, pronouns or noun phrases, based on how they modify and qualify, (what information they provide about the nouns) adjectives are divided into various types. Articles, thus, fall under a special type or category of adjectives which is called article adjectives. Article are types of adjectives that tell us whether the noun is known, already mentioned, specific and unique or unknown, mentioned for the first time, general and common.

Example: Ruhi has a dog. The dog is very cute.

‘A’ is the indefinite article used in the first sentence, while ‘the’ is the definite article used in the second sentence. Both the articles ‘a’ and ‘the’ are placed before the singular countable nouns ‘dog’ and ‘dog’(an animal)  respectively,thereby modifying them.

The article ‘a’ in the first sentence describes the noun ‘dog’ by telling us about the unspecific nature of the dog. The article ‘the’ in the second sentence describes the noun ‘dog’ by referring to a particular dog – the dog which is already mentioned in the first sentence.

What are the articles?

Articles are nothing but words which are always located right in front of the nouns or noun phrases in a sentence thereby acting like describing words (adjectives). The articles say us whether the noun that it precedes is known and specific or unknown and common.

‘A’ and ‘an’ are regarded as indefinite articles as they refer to a common and unspecific noun or pronoun. ‘A’ is used in front of a noun that begins with a consonant letter or a consonant sound, while, the article ‘an’ precedes the noun that starts with a vowel letter or a vowel sound. Article ‘the’ is called as a definite article since they indicate a known, particular and unique noun or pronoun.

Example: Let us visit the Taj Mahal this weekend.

‘The’ is the definite article used in this sentence. The article ‘the’ is followed by the noun ‘Taj Mahal’ (a monument) which it is qualifying. The article ‘the’ is used here, as Taj Mahal is a unique and a specific place, (monument) as there is only one Taj Mahal in this world.

Use of articles as adjectives in sentences

Now it is time we go through a few sentences where articles are used as adjectives.

  • 1. There is a flower shop near my house that sells beautiful flowers.
  • 2. Today, we saw an elephant near our school.
  • 3. Ruhan is the boy I was talking to you about.
  • 4. Could you please lend me a pencil?
  • 5. I want a leader for our class and the leader must be responsible for everything.

Use of articles as adjectives in sentences with detailed explanations

We will now identify the type of articles utilized in each sentence and understand how they are functioning as adjectives in the above sentences.

1. There is a flower shop near my house that sells beautiful flowers.

‘A’ is the indefinite article utilized in the above sentence. The article ‘a’ is also an adjective as it is present in front of the singular countable noun phrase ‘flower shop’ ( a place) and is performing the function of modifying it by telling us about the general and common nature of flower shop.

2. Today, we saw an elephant near our school.

The indefinite article used here is ‘an’. The article ‘an’ is used here as it is followed by a singular countable noun ‘elephant’ (an animal), which begins with the vowel ‘e’. ‘An’ is an article adjective, since, it is telling us that the elephant mentioned in this sentence is some random, common and unspecific elephant.

3. Ruhan is the boy I was talking to you about.

‘The’ is the definite article in this sentence. The article ‘the’ is functioning as an adjective as it is describing the singular countable noun ‘boy’ (a person), before which it is present. The usage of the article ‘the’ in this sentence, conveys us that the identity of the noun ‘boy’ is known and specific, as it is referring to one particular person (Ruhan) that the subject ‘you’ already knows.

4. Could you please lend me a pencil?

In this sentence, the indefinite article utilized is ‘a’ and it is also functioning as an adjective. The article ‘a’ here, is present before the singular countable noun ‘bag’ (a thing), which begins with consonant letter ‘b’, thus telling us that it is some unspecific and common pencil, which is mentioned in the above sentence.

5. I want a leader for our class and the leader must be responsible for everything.

‘A’ and ‘the’ are the articles utilized in the above sentence. The indefinite article ‘a’ is placed before the singular countable noun ‘leader’ (a person) and modifies it by telling us about the generalness about the noun, referring to an unspecific person. The definite article ‘the’ is also present before the countable noun ‘leader’ and is describing it by indicating a particular person (leader) – the leader which is already mentioned in the sentence.

Conclusion

Hence, articles are words which are always followed by a singular or a plural naming word thereby functioning as article adjectives that tell us extra and additional details about the nouns that they precede.

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