top of page

An Article of Confusion 混乱しやすい冠詞

What is an article? Simply put they are special group of words that are in fact adjectives and proceed or are used to modify nouns in a sentence. What does modify mean? Essentially it tells the reader or person listening to you that you are going be referring to a noun very soon.



Q. So how many articles are there?
Q. 冠詞はいくつありますか?

It depends on who you are asking. Some say there are two, some say three. The words are a, an, and the.

人によって返事が断ります。ある人は「2つ」、ある人は「3つ」と答えます。冠詞とは次の言葉をさします:a , an , そして the. "So there are three words," I hear you say. Well yes there are but the words a and an are dependent on a few conditions but essentially serve the same purpose. The main one is fairly simple, but if learning a language is anything to go by, then there are exceptions. Happily there are only a few of these. So let's take a look at the rules of all three here. 「言葉3つじゃないですか」と思うかもしれません。確かにそうですが、a と an は場合によってどちらかが使われていあす。ただ、ほぼ同じ目的で使われています。 メインの冠詞はそれほど難しくないのですが、言語を学んでいるみな様がすでご存知のように、必ず例外があります。

That's not to bad, and honestly the exceptions aren't too horrible either.



From time to time certain words that begin with consonants like "hour" or words that begin with vowel like "ukulele" don't follow this rule. Why? Let's take a look at a few examples.


I will be there in an hour. (Correct 正しい)
I will be there in a hour. (Incorrect 間違い)


It was an honor to meet with you today. (Correct 正しい)
It was a honor to meet with you today. (Incorrect 間違い)

Here we see that the word hour and honor begin with a silent "h" so essentially the words begins with a vowel.

ここで見られるのは、「honor」や 「hour」は 子音で始まる言葉に関わらず、「h」の音を出しませんので、母音で始まると同じことになります。


On the other hand there is are some exceptions for words such as aforementioned ukulele, and others like it, university, and universe, or something like "a one-eyed pirate" In all of these cases the words sound like they begin with a consonant the first three sound like they have a "Y" as is "You" and the fourth example sounds like it starts with a "W" as in the homophone "Won."

逆に、ある言葉(ukulele, university, universe, "one-eyed pirate")を読みますと、最初の文字が母音であっても、音を聞くよ「you の y」の音です。4つ目の例をみれば、最初の音は「won の w」に聞こえますね。 For the final article the let's look at a couple examples of it's use.


I went to the store to buy some milk.
I want the people to know I was telling the truth.

In the first example we can assume that the person you are talking to knows what store you are talking about so can use the article the. In the second example people in plural you use the word the.


There you go. In our next blog let's continue to look at some interesting grammatical rules. I hope you have a wonderful day.



Recent Posts

See All



bottom of page