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Writing Style

Articles (art)

The articles, a, an, or the, are used to introduce nouns in a sentence.

Articles show what type of noun will follow.


A and An

 Use a or an before an indefinite or general noun. This means the noun refers to any thing, not a particular thing. 

A is used before general nouns that start with a consonant (e.g., b, c, d, f, g, h) and an is used before general nouns that start with a vowel (e.g., a, e, i, o, u) or a vowel sound.


A nurse plays a vital role in any unit within a hospital.

An academic paper at UCQ should follow APA formatting guidelines.



Use the to refer to a specific or definite person or thing. 


The faculty and staff in the Learning Commons at UCQ provide great student support.

The people of Qatar have access to worldclass healthcare.


No Article

Do not use an article before a general, plural count noun or before non-count nouns.


Nurses play vital roles within any hospital unit.

Research plays a vital role in evidence-based nursing practice.


More Information

"A Simple Guide to Using Articles," University of Calgary

"Articles," Purdue OWL

"Articles with Count and Non-Count Nouns," Queen's University 

"Nouns and Articles," St. Petersbury College (exercises)

"Count and Non-Count Nouns