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The Articles

The Indefinite Article

The indefinite article does not refer to a particular person or object.

The indefinite article is a [ə], emphatic [a], used before both consonants and vowels. The indefinite article an may also occur before vowels.

Here's a aiple tae ye.
Here's an apple for you.
Are ye haein a egg tae yer tea?
Are you having an egg for dinner?
He dee'd a fair strae deith.
He died of natural causes.
It wis a unco sicht he saw.
It was a strange sight he saw.
A seen a ingine doun the railwey yaird.
I saw an engine down at the railway yard.

Sometimes the indefinite article is omitted after mony.

Thair's mony ane dis that.
Many a one does that.
Mony time A thocht o her.
Many a time I thought of her.
Ae Fond Kiss, Robert Burns museum AllowayAyr, South Ayrshire

Ae [e:, je:] is the adjectival form of ane and means 'single' or 'solitary' or the 'only one' and is usually used before nouns.

The cantie wee lassie wis Aidam's ae dochter.
The cheerful young girl was Adam's only daughter.
The young man gaed oot the disco wi an ae lass.
The young man left the disco with only one girl.

The indefinite pronoun some is the plural of a, ae, ane and an meaning an unknown number of the the things named by the noun.

Some o thae flouers is wiltit.
Some of those flowers are wilted.
Some fowk's trystin at the kirk.
Some people are meeting at church.

The Definite Article

The Vennel, GlenarmGlenarm, Antrim

The definite article the [ðə] refers to a particular person or object.

Scots usage often prefers the definite article over the indefinite article.

He wis feelin hungert an eatit the bit breid.
He was feeling hungry and ate a piece of bread.
Efter he telt her it wis throu she gaed aff wi the tear in her ee.
After he told her it was finished she left with a tear in her eye.
Taiblet costs twal pennies the piece.
Tablet costs twelve pence a piece.
She gat the reid face efter ye speirt aboot it.
She blushed after you enquired about it.

Special uses of the definite article.

Before the names of the seasons and the days of the week.

Scots
Standard English
The ware
spring
The simmer
summer
The hairst
autumn
The winter
winter

The Monanday.
Monday.
The Tysday.
Tuesday.
The Wadensday.
Wednesday
The Fuirsday etc.
Thursday etc.
Are ye gaun til the gemm on the Seturday?
Are you going to the game on Saturday?
Hit's a cauld, snell wind that blaws in the winter.
It’s a cold, harsh wind that blows in winter.

Before many nouns.

Awa til the kirk.
Off to church.
Doun the toun.
In town.
At the schuil.
In school.
Up the stair.
Up stairs.
Fish tae the tea.
Fish for dinner.
On the knock.
O' clock.
Sent til the jyle.
Sent to goal.
A gemm at the bouls.
A game of bowls.
Doun the brae.
Down hill.
Wi the train.
By train.
He begoud the dealin.
He began trading.
The price o the milk an the butter's aye gaun up.
The price of milk and butter is always increasing.

In a number of adverbial phrases.

A canna sort it the nou.
I can't sort it just now.
Whaur ye gaun the day?.
Where are you going today?
We'll see tae it the morn.
We'll deal with it tomorrow.
The morn come aicht day.
Tomorrow week.
She's at the dancin the nicht.
She's going dancing tonight.
The corn's guid the year.
The corn is good this year.
The streen the muin wis sheenin bricht.
Yesterday (evening) the moon was shining bright.
The morn's morn(in) we're awa tae the Broch.
Tomorrow morning we're going to Fraserburgh.
The faimily's awa tae the picturs the morn's nicht.
Our family's off to the cinema tomorrow night.
Freedom an whisky gangs thegither.
Freedom and whisky belong together.

The definite article is often used colloquially instead of a possessive pronoun.

Hou's the guidman the day?
How is your husband today?
The wife wis in the gairden wi's.
My (your or his) wife was in the garden with me.
She clawed the mutch aff me.
She tore off my cap.
He slippit the fit an fell.
His foot slipped, and he fell.

Before the names of diseases.

The maisles.
Measles.
The brounkaties.
Bronchitis.
The haingles.
Influenza.
The gulsoch.
Jaundice.
The cauld.
Cold.
The buffits.
Mumps.
The rheumatise.
Rheumatism.

Before the names of trades, occupations, sciences and departments of learning.

Ma son's learnin the jynerin.
My son is learning carpentry.
He kens the chemistry gey guid.
He knows chemistry very well.
She's guid at the Laitin.
She is good at Latin.
He canna speak the French.
He can't speak French.

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