This is sort of a tricky one, but it’s important for smooth and clear writing. Basically, articles are the words, “the”, “a”, and “an” and in the sentence they function to give specificity and number. And they also help to establish whether you’re talking about a specific or general thing. Now, I know that’s probably sounds pretty vague so let’s talk about this in the context of these sentences here. “I am studying for a test.”

The word “a” is an indefinite article. I’m not talking about something specific. You don’t know what test I’m studying for, I’m just studying for any old test. But if I say I’m studying for “the” test, there’s a specific test, you know what test I’m studying for, I know which test I’m studying for, it’s a very specific thing.

Similarly, I can say “a counseling session provides a supportive environment.”

And when I say something like that, it’s clear I’m talking about counseling sessions in general, right? I’m making a general observation about counseling sessions. If I say “the counseling session” I’m talking about a specific session involving specific people.

One specific counseling session provided a supportive environment. Now, what’s tricky about articles is that the rules for using articles, when do you use — you know, which words do you have to use “the” in front of and which words do you not have to use “the” in front of, and so on and so forth–all the nitty gritty rules about articles, there really aren’t hard and fast, easy to learn rules, so if English is not your first language, articles can be pretty tough because they don’t function the same in English as they do in other languages. In fact some languages don’t even use articles. But I bring them up here because they really do add meaning to the sentence.

[Source: Walden University. ]




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