Articles: a, an, and the. Three little words that are often overlooked or outright dismissed, especially by math-minded people or people with English as their second language. No, really – I do a lot of editing for writers in both categories, and from experience, I can tell you that both definitely tend to skip articles. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them every time I edit: Articles are important.
Don’t believe me? I can prove it with these 3 examples.
3 Examples to Prove That Articles Are Important
1. Why “the” is important
To a lot of people, the is a filler word. It’s a word you pronounce differently to sound funny or pretentious. A word you’ve used for so long that you don’t even know its definition. In fact, you’ve probably never even thought if it as having a definition. But it’s a word – of course, it has a definition.
the: a definitive article used to denote that a person, place, or thing is unique
In other words, you use it to indicate that something is special or one-of-a-kind. It’s a way of being specific. And you might be surprised how vital it can be to certain phrases or sentences…
Can you honestly tell me that those two statements mean the same thing? I mean, really, people – that’s a pretty big jump in meaning from putting in or taking out 1 little word!
2. Why “an” is important
Ok, an doesn’t have as much of a definition going for it. The definition is basically “the definite article used before a word beginning with a vowel.” But it adds so much more meaning than that by helping you distinguish between different options.
Picture a fancy dinner party – you’re talking to a sexy writer for a big-time magazine who, naturally, starts boasting about recent interviews. You hear one of the two statements below…
How would you tell the difference between these two homophones without an? Putting in an unnecessary article can make as dramatic a change as dropping a necessary one (Although, honestly, I’d be more interested in the 2nd statement…).
3. Why “a” is important
A is an‘s counterpart. The other side of its coin. The dark side of its moon. The an for words starting with consonant sounds.
Ok, I’m done.
Seriously though, a is just as important as the other two definite articles. It makes your language more precise and really helps you express yourself clearly. And if you still don’t think articles are important, just wait. I have saved the best example for last, and it is my personal favorite because it very clearly illustrates exactly how valuable the word a is.
WIFE: Bail? Why do you need bail?
HUSBAND: I dropped an article.
There you have it: 3 examples to prove that articles are important. They can help you communicate, improve your chances of getting a date, and keep you out of jail.
Ok, ok. They can help you with the first one, which can help you with the other two. You’ll definitely impress English lovers more if you use them correctly (and they’ll laugh at you less). Believe me, writing book, sentence, or even ode without them, doesn’t make most understandable creations in long run.