Articles (a, an, the) Edit

Highlight: Include definite and indefinite articles in your documentation.

Articles modify nouns. The is a definite article, and is used to define specific or particular nouns.
A and an are indefinite articles, and are used to define non-specific or non-particular nouns.

For example, ‘I watched the video.’ Here, the particular video is being watched.
‘I watched a video.’ Here, it may be any video that is being watched.

Including articles in your writing is essential for overall simplicity of language and ease of understanding.

Examples of articles

  • A document
  • An hour
  • A link
  • A project
  • An open source project
  • An issue
  • A new issue

Using a or an depends on the pronunciation of the succeeding word. Basically, a is used before any consonant sound, and an is used before any vowel sound.

The article (a or an) that goes along with an abbreviation depends on whether the term is pronounced like an acronym or an initialism. For example, an API, an IDE, a URL, a CMS are the articles that go with these terms.

For more information, see Abbreviations.

Additional resources

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