Gramática: artículos  


Articles

Articles are the words a, an, some, the.  You use them directly in front of nouns.

The word the is called the definite article.  You use the when you're talking about a specific person, place or thing.

Examples:

The plate is on the table.
The table is in the dining room.
The dog is in the living room.


The words aan, some are called the indefinite articles.  You use them when you're not pointing out a specific person, place or thing.

Examples:

A plate can fit on a table.
A table should fit in a dining room.
An apple is good for an adult.

In Spanish there are four definite articles you can use in place of the word the: el, la, los, las.   Which one you use will depend on whether the noun you're using is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.

Examples:

La toalla está en el baño.
The towel is in the bathroom.

Los tenedores están en la cocina.
The forks are in the kitchen.

Las sillas están en el comedor.
The chairs are in the dining room.
 
There are two singular indefinite articles you can use in place of the words a or an: un or una.  Which one of the two you use will depend on whether the noun you're talking about is masculine or feminine. 

Examples:

Un baño debe tener una toalla.
A bathroom should have a towel. 

Una cocina debe tener una estufa.
A kitchen should have a stove.

Un comedor debe tener una mesa.
A dining room should have a table.


There are two plural indefinite articles you can use in place of the words someunos or unas.  Which one of the two you use will depend on whether the noun you're talking about is masculine or feminine. 

Examples:

Unas toallas están limpias.
Some towels are clean.

Unos platos están sucios.
Some plates are dirty.


 
Summary

Rule: 
  1. In Spanish, the definite article (the) = el, la, los or las. Choose the one that matches the noun's gender and number.
  2. In Spanish, the singular indefinite articles (a, an) = un or una. Choose the one that matches the noun's gender.
  3. In Spanish, the plural indefinite article some = unos or unas. Choose the one that matches the noun's gender.