Articles are words that used together with nouns or adjectives.  They are regarded as a class of determiner and not a word class. The articles normally in most cases are placed before a noun.

Example of articles are a, an, the and zero articles.

Look the following examples

(i)        The car        – Noun

(ii)       A good boy   -Noun

(iii)      An x-ray       -Noun


  1. Normally placed before Noun.

For examples

(i)        A national party


(ii)       A European


(iii)      The Sun


  1. In some cases Articles used before Adjective + Common noun

For examples

(i)        A    good                     boy

Adjective    Noun

(ii)       A    good                     Musician

Adjective                Noun

(iii)      The  West                   German

Adjective   Noun

  1. Also sometimes Articles are placed before Number +  Common Noun

For examples

(i)        The six                        boys

Number                 Noun

(ii)       A one                          cow

Number                   Noun


  1. Articles is used to clarify the Noun (i.e to make noun clear with reference to the given context).

For example

(i)        The sun (i.e article the used to specify that there is only one sun)

(ii)       A boy  (i.e A used to suggest that boy is unknown or there is only


  1. Articles is used to express which particular items are referred to a given context

For examples

(i)        The tiger (i.e article the used to denote the idea of a class of animals)

(ii)       A tiger (i.e article A used to denote the idea of one kind of animals

  1. Articles is used to express the specific things from the general one

For examples

(i)        The boy (i.e the used to express the idea that the boy is well known by everyone)

(ii)       A boy (i.e A used to express the idea that the boy is not well



There are three main types of articles



Those are articles that express the idea that the given noun is known from the given context. Definite articles express things, place or person that is clear to us.

Definite article is The

For example

(i)        The Earth

(ii)       The boy

(iii)      The president Kikwete


  1. It used to express the unique thing (i.e the things that only one exist in the world).

(i)        The  sun

(ii)       The equator

(iii)      The  earth

(iv)      The Mt. Kilimanjaro

  • The President of Tanzania
  • The Moon
  • The River Malagalasi
  1. It used to express the noun that is expressed for the second time (i.e this means the noun is already known in the context when introduced for the first time).

For example

  • John bough a radio and sold the radio to the people

1st time                        2nd time

  • A boy who killed a thief. The boy report to the police
  • I bough a shirt. The shirt is now old.
  • A boy was here for two hours yesterday. The  boy was looking something in this place.  The  boy was considered as a thief by many people.  He was carrying a radio.  the radio was good and new one.
  1. It used to express the part of the house

For example

  • The wall
  • The kitchen
  • The window
  • The floor
  • The roof
  1. It used together with superlative adjectives (i.e those adjective that end up with suffix iest or begin with most)

For example

  • The biggest boy
  • The most beautiful
  • The longest river
  • The most cleaver
  1. It used before the name of the country which consist an adjective

For example

  • The United Kingdom
  • The Soviet Union
  • The United Arab
  1. It used before the organization and political parties

For example

  • The O.A.U
  • The UNO
  • The NCCR
  • The FAO
  • The UMD
  1. It used to express the historical event

For example

  • The Arusha Declaration
  • The Majimaji War
  • The Tanzanian Independence
  1. It used to express a title of books and films

For example

  • The Lion of the people
  • The Pearl of Africa
  • The Tragedy of the true blood
  1. It used to express the public institution (i.e institution that are owned by public)

For example

  • The police
  • The TBC
  • The RTD
  1. It used to express a noun that is well specified by relative pronoun

For example

  • The boy who comes always become a president
  • The girl who killed yesterday is my aunt
  • The ladies who steal my pocket are waiting you

NB:      Sometime preposition in is used

  • The boy in the garden
  • The flower in the garden
  • The girl in the hotel
  • The women in the car
  1. It used together with the expression of time

For examples

  • In the afternoon
  • In the night
  • In the morning

Are those articles that express the idea that the given noun is unknown from the given context.

Examples of Idefinite article are a and an


A – Is used with those noun that start with consonant sound (b, c, d,…..z)

AN – Is used with those noun that start with vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u) and (silent h sound).


  1. They used to introduce something or person at the first time (i.e That is unknown in the given context).

For examples

(i)        I bought a radio.  The radio was so good

1st time

(ii)       I read a book and the book seems to be good

1st time

  • An egg should be given to children
  1. They used before abbreviation that is not an organization or political party

For examples

  • I have bough aW (Volkswagen)
  • I have a B.sc (Bachelor of Science)
  • I hold a P.H.D of University of Dar es Salaam.
  1. They used to show the abnormality included the state of illness

For examples

  • I have a cold
  • He was suffered from a headache
  • They are recovered fro ma fever
  1. They are used to describe someone nationality

For examples

  • He is an American
  • She is an African
  • He is a Tanzanian


AN is used together with any noun start with vowel sound and silent h sound.  These general rules do not reflect the beginning letters or spelling of the noun but the beginning sound.

For examples

  • An European
  • An X-ray
  • An F.B.I
  • An Egg
  • An Umbrella
  • An Apple
  • An Hour

Is the omission of an article before a noun.  Zero articles means no article before noun.


  1. There is non articles (zero articles) before plural countable noun.

For examples

  • Boys play very well
  • Women speak with authority
  • Plants grow during a rain season
  1. There is no articles (zero articles) before uncountable noun

For examples

  • Sand
  • Life
  • Butter
  • Water
  1. There is no articles (zero articles) before a kind of language

For examples

  • English
  • French
  • Swahili
  1. There is no articles (zero articles) before proper noun

For examples

  • Hamisi
  • Ally
  • Ann
  • Neema


Supply suitable article in the space provided either by using a, an  or the

  1. ________________Mt. Kilimanjaro found in Tanzania
  2. ________________oil is vital in our economy
  3. I have _________________B.sc of University of Kenyatta
  4. ________________Nile is _______________longest river
  5. ___________________exercise book must be returned
  6. __________________moon must be seen today night
  7. __________________girl who died is my aunt
  8. Don’t waste even______________hour today
  9. _______________electric light bulb contains filaments
  10. Let us report the news to____P.C.C.B institution for further investigation.
  11. She is _________________strongest woman in this country
  12. There is ____________________broken glass on _______________floor
  13. She arrive here in____________________afternoon
  14. Report from ______________________UNESCO gives us a true picture
  15. __________________death of Kinjekitile Ngwale help us Tanzanian to get its independence in 1961.
  16. _______________United Republic of Tanzania retain its peace environment since independence.
  17. I have ____________________M.A (Master of Art)
  18. Take it to________________kitchen
  19. This is _________________honorable person
  20. I think you have _________________malaria
  21. One there was___________________old woman nothing can be done.
  22. ____________bird flies on the trees
  23. I have got___________________ headache


Supply either zero article in the space or other types of articles i.e an, a, the

  1. ____________________grass always grow in the field
  2. ___________________bird flies in _________________air
  3. ______________water and _______________milk are uncountable things
  4. _______________Swedish is very easy to learn
  5. _________________boys will be able to climb _____________Mt. Kilimanjaro
  6. ________________egg support ___________________life of use
  7. _________________John lives in____________________ United State


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