What is GRAMMATICAL ARTICLE? What does GRAMMATICAL ARTICLE mean? GRAMMATICAL ARTICLE meaning – GRAMMATICAL ARTICLE definition – GRAMMATICAL ARTICLE explanation.
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An article (abbreviated to art) is a word (prefix or suffix) that is used alongside a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify grammatical definiteness of the noun, in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope. The articles in the English language are the and a/an, and (in certain contexts) some. “An” and “a” are modern forms of the Old English “an”, which in Anglian dialects was the number “one” (compare “on”, in Saxon dialects) and survived into Modern Scots as the number “owan”. Both “on” (respelled “one” by the Normans) and “an” survived into Modern English, with “one” used as the number and “an” (“a”, before nouns that begin with a consonant sound) as an indefinite article.
In many languages, articles are a special part of speech, which cannot easily be combined with other parts of speech. In English, articles are frequently considered a part of a broader speech category called determiners, which combines articles and demonstratives (such as “this” and “that”).
In languages that employ articles, every common noun, with some exceptions, is expressed with a certain definiteness (e.g., definite or indefinite), just as many languages express every noun with a certain grammatical number (e.g., singular or plural). Every noun must be accompanied by the article, if any, corresponding to its definiteness, and the lack of an article (considered a zero article) itself specifies a certain definiteness. This is in contrast to other adjectives and determiners, which are typically optional. This obligatory nature of articles makes them among the most common words in many languages—in English, for example, the most frequent word is the.
Articles are usually characterized as either definite or indefinite. A few languages with well-developed systems of articles may distinguish additional subtypes. Within each type, languages may have various forms of each article, according to grammatical attributes such as gender, number, or case, or according to adjacent sounds.
The definite article is used to refer to a particular member of a group or class. It may be something that the speaker has already mentioned or it may be something uniquely specified. The definite article in English for both singular and plural nouns, is the.
The children know the fastest way home.
The sentence above refers to specific children and a specific way home; it contrasts with the much more general observation that:
Children know the fastest ways home.
The latter sentence refers to children in general and their specific ways home. Likewise,
Give me the book.
refers to a specific book whose identity is known or obvious to the listener; as such it has a markedly different meaning from
Give me a book.
which uses an indefinite article, which does not specify what book is to be given.
The definite article can also be used in English to indicate a specific class among other classes:
The cabbage white butterfly lays its eggs on members of the Brassica genus.
However, recent developments show that definite articles are morphological elements linked to certain noun types due to lexicalization. Under this point of view, definiteness does not play a role in the selection of a definite article more than the lexical entry attached to the article.
The definite article is sometimes also used with proper names, which are already specified by definition (there is just one of them). For example: the Amazon, the Hebrides. In these cases, the definite article may be considered superfluous.