XAT 2014: 30 minutes Verbal Error correction on Articles

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Updated on December 18, 2013
Out of 30 questions in Verbal Ability two are always there on Articles which have been the favourite of XAT in error correction part. If the questions on error correction are increased, the questions on usage of articles are also increased.
If the questions on error correction are increased, the questions on usage of articles are also increased.

Out of 30 questions in Verbal Ability two are always there on Articles which have been the favourite of XAT in error correction part.  If the questions on error correction are increased, the questions on usage of articles are also increased. Surprisingly, the questions are simple but the options are so close that the candidates, despite knowing the answers, may get confused.

XAT 2012 and XAT 2013 had 2 to 3 questions each based on the concept of articles in the form of fill in the blanks. It is therefore advisable to have a clear concept on the usage of these simple and sound based confusing parts of speech, in order to score full marks on these questions.

Know well : how to use articles

In this article with quick learning tips from Verbal Expert Prof. S.K. Agarwal, have a clear understanding and shed away your doubts on insertion and omission of Articles
Using the indefinite Articles

Article -  'A' -  It is an indefinite article and is used before the singular countable noun starting with a consonant e.g.

A ten Rupee note, a horse, a fine and vivid speech, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, A word to the wise is sufficient.

Exceptions -  Although article 'A' is used before a consonant, but it is also used before a vowel, the sound of which begins like a consonant, for example -

 A  European,  A University, ( E and U being pronounced as 'yu'),  Similarly, if a consonant sounds like a vowel, article A will not be used before the said word 
e.g.An Honest person,  An honour to the profession ( H of the honest and honour being pronounced as 'O' - Onest, Onour)

 ARTICLE – ‘AN’   Again an Indefinite article, but is used before a word beginning with a vowel sound-

e.g. An umbrella, An honest man, An Hour, An Honour, An Heir ( The sound in the words
 beginning with H is of vowel – O, e, a,

Using definite article ‘The’
 It is the definite Article and has multi facet usage. It is expected from the students that while making any corrections, they should recall the following rules –

i)          Used before the names of things unique of their kind in the Universe –


    The earth, the moon, the jupitar, the sky, the sun, the sea


ii)           Used before superlatives -  the best, the worst, the ugliest, the darkest

iii)          Used before the Ordinal numbers – the seventh page of the chapter, the first man to set foot on the moon.

iv)         Used before the names of famous/certain books – the Geeta, the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Illiad

v)           Used before a certain place, person, thing or the one already referred to – e.g.

     The park, where the boy went, is a little far away, The chapter, you don’t want to      study is very important, The dog is not traceable. ( The particular dog which we have been searching for some time.)

vi)         Used before the names of certain countries which include the words like Kingdom, Republic, group of islands, seat of Government – the United Kingdom, the Irish Republic, the Netherlands, the Hague( it is the seat of Government of the Netherlands)   

vii)         Used before an Adverb with comparatives –

             The more you read, the more you understand, the more I get, the more I want

Omission of Articles

i)         Omitted before the names of materials – as, Gold is a precious material, Cotton grows in India, America and Egypt.

ii)        Omitted before Proper Noun – (Except the ones referred earlier) Delhi, India,    Mumbai, Shakespeare, Mount Everest, Ram, Rahim. If the Article is used before proper noun it will become common noun e.g. –He was the Nepolean of his age.,  Mumbai is the Manchester of India


iii)        No article before Abstract Noun – Wisdom is the gift of Heaven, Virtue is its own reward,   Honesty is the best policy 

iv)         No article before languages – English, Hindi, French

      v)        Before school, colleges, church, bed, Hospital market, prison – when these places are visited or used for their primary purposes for which they exist.

                    ‘The’ is used with them when they are used to indicate a definite place or object   rather than to the normal activity that goes on there

e.g. The bed is broken, I met him at the Church, I went to the hospital on its inauguration.


      vii)       No article before the names of relations like father, mother, aunt, uncle, cook, nurse (our cook,

 Our nurse)   Aunt wants to see her,  Cook has given notice

  1.                     But – we need a cook, a nurse

     Repetition of Articles-

    1. When two or more connected nouns refer to the same person or thing, the article is used before the first only but when two or more connected noun refer to different persons or things, the article is used before each.

    The secretary and Treasurer is absent             (One person)
    The Secretary and the Treasurer are absent       (Two persons)

    When two or more adjectives qualify the same noun, the Article is used before the first adjective only but if they are meant to qualify the different nouns, expressed or understood, the Article is normally used before each adjective.

    I have a blue and white motorcycle.  (one motorcycle)
    I have a blue and a white motorcycle ( two motorcycles) 

     Sample XAT questions with answers on articles
    Direction – Fill in the blanks with the most appropriate option that follows-
     Q.1 Most of my friends have studied at ____university and It is _____ well established fact that ___ computer, now a days, is ______ useful device.

    (1) an, the, a, the,
    (2) the,a,the, a
    (3) a, a, the, a
    (4) a, the, the, the


    Q.2  ___ shop keeper did not give me ___ one rupee coin, although he had it and It is very difficult to find _____ honest politician who is ____ man of word.

    1. A, an, a, the
    2. The, a, an, a
    3. The, --, the, a
    4. A, the, a, a


    Q.3 - ____ few years ago, _____ importance of _____ person who was ____ M. A., was more than that it is now. The person however, has ____ sour throat as he shouted from ______ distance.

    1. The, the, a, a, the, the
    2. A, the, the, the, the, a
    3. A, the, a, an, a, a
    4. The, an, the, an, a, the


    Q.4  Dr. Reid Thomas, ____ great physician, is _____ European and _____ sweet smile always rests on his face. He is ______ regular morning walker and anyone who wishes to take ______ walk with him must get up not later than 5.00 A.M.

    1. a, a, a, a, a
    2. a, an, the, the, no article,
    3. the, the, a, the, the
    4. the, an, the, a, a


    Q.5 - ______ poor woman has not _____ rupee why don’t you get ____ pound of sugar from _____ nearest grocer.

    1. A, the, the, a
    2. The, a, a, the
    3. A, a, the, the
    4. The, the, the, the


    Q.6- ‘For Brutus is ____ honourable man’ is _____ ironical statement and is ___ part of _____ famous speech made by Antony after _____ assassination of Julius Caesar.

    1. the, a, a, a, an
    2. a, the, the, a, the
    3. an, an, a, the, the
    4. an, the, the, a, an


    Q.7 ____ doctor says it is _____ hopeless case but man has no more right to say ____ uncivil thing than to act one. Please set back _____ clock; it is _____ hour too fast.

    1. A, the, a, a, an
    2. The, the, an, a, an
    3. The, a, an, the, an
    4. A, a, an, no article, an


    Q.8 - They never fail who die in______ great cause and you must be aware that _______ Umbrella is of no avail against ______ thunderstorm. It was ____ year ago when these two great persons met each other.
           (1) a, an, the, a

    1. the, the, the, an,
    2. a, the, a, an
    3. the, no article, a, a


    Q.9 - _________wolf meeting, with______lamb astray from_________fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify ________lamb__________wolf’s right to eat him (XAT 2013)

    1. A, a, the, the, the
    2. The, a, the, a, the
    3. A, a, a, the, the
    4. The, the, the, the, the
    5. The, a, the, a, a 


    Q.10 ______bat who fell upon ____ ground and was caught by _________weasel pleaded to be spared his life____weasel  refused, saying that he was by nature_____enemy of all birds. ____bat assured his that he was not____bird, but____mouse, and thus was set free.(XAT 2013)

    1. a, the, a, the, the, the, the a
    2. a, the, a, the, a, the, a, a
    3. the, a, a, the, the, a, the, the
    4. a, the, a, the, the, the, a, a,
    5. the, a, a, a, the, the, a, a,

    Q.1 – (3); Q.2 – (2); Q.3- (1);  Q.4-(1);   Q5-(2);  Q.6-(3);  Q. 7 – (3); Q.8-(1); Q.9-(1); Q.10- (4)   

    Explanation – Remember the use of indefinite article is sound based.  University, Useful, European, utensil begins with ‘yu’ hence use of ‘a’ is required.  Honest, honourable, uncivil, ironical, umbrella begins with the sound of ‘o’, ‘a’, hence use of ‘an’ is necessary.
    2.Use of definite article for already referred and specific objects is needed in other sentences.

    Next article in the series will be on  ’30 minutes to solve parajumbles’ 

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