a vs the in English Language
A and The are two articles used in the English language with difference. It is very important to know the difference between them. A is called as the indefinite article whereas ‘the’ is known as the definite article. This is the main difference between ‘a’ and ‘the’.
The article ‘a’ is called as indefinite article because it represents an object which is indefinite in nature. On the other hand the article ‘the’ is called as definite article because it represents and object which is definite in nature.
This is also an important difference between the two articles. The definite article is used before nouns that begin with a consonant and not a vowel. Consider these examples: a book, a pencil, a flower and a table. Note that in all the examples the words begin with a consonant. Hence you can use the article ‘a’.
On the other hand the definite article ‘the’ is used to indicate definiteness on the part of an object or a person as in the examples: the bank, the school, the person and the country. In all the examples the definite article ‘the’ is used to indicate definiteness in relation to bank, school, person and country. In other words it can be said that a particular bank, a particular school, a particular person and a particular country is referred to by the usage of the definite article ‘the’.
On the other hand any object belonging to the particular category is referred to by the usage of the indefinite article ‘a’ as in the examples: a book in the shop, a flower in a garden and a student in a school. In all the examples given above you can see that the indefinite article ‘a’ refers to any book in the shop, any flower in the garden and to any student in the school respectively.