A/an and the
A/an and the: meaning
A/an and the are articles. They are a type of determiner and they go before a noun.
A/an before a noun shows that what is referred to is not already known to the speaker, listener, writer and/or reader (it is the indefinite article):
Do you have a car?
A: Do you live in a house?B: No, actually, I live in an apartment.
The before a noun shows that what is referred to is already known to the speaker, listener, writer and/or reader (it is the definite article):
Where did we park the car? (The speaker and the listener know what car is being referred to.)
We had to paint the apartment before we sold it. (The speaker and the listener know what apartment is being referred to.)
The makes a noun specific.
Have you ever been to any ice rink? (an doesn’t make the noun ice rink specific)
The speaker and listener know the ice rink which is being referred to (e.g. the one in their town/the local one). Themakes the noun ice rink specific.
Specific (‘the one you and I know’)