1. "It being a rainy day."
  2. Sunil is the best student of our class at present.
  3. This is my umbrella.

In this two sentence we use "a" article with a rainy day, but no article before nouns like "present", "class" and "umbrella".

When do we use articles?

2 Answers 2


at present: is a set phrase: quite a formal one. That's just the way it is.

our class: our is a determiner, a is a determiner. You only need one determiner.

my umbrella: my is a determiner, a is a determiner. You only need one determiner.

  • ...and so is 'our class'. Dec 10, 2019 at 9:22
  • @KateBunting thank you for pointing that out: I have update my answer.
    – JavaLatte
    Dec 12, 2019 at 7:50

The complete rules for correct usage of articles are so many and detailed, that it's outside of the scope of this website to explain them all. It would take a large book.

But for the three examples you give, I can explain the rules.

  1. "It is a rainy day."

Generally, "a" means "one of many". There are many rainy days, and this is one of them.

  1. Sunil is the best student in our class at present.

"At present" is an idiomatic expression that does not follow normal rules for articles. You have to learn this expression on its own.

  1. This is my umbrella.

Words like "my/your/her..." are possessive adjectives. You cannot have both a possessive adjective and an article on the same noun.

  • my used to be regarded as an adjective, but since the 1960's it is now regarded as a determiner. Why? Because you can say "a red umbrella" but your can't say "a my umbrella". Adjectives can be preceded by determiners, but determiners cannot. grammar-monster.com/glossary/possessive_adjectives.htm dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/my
    – JavaLatte
    Jan 18, 2022 at 2:23
  • @JavaLatte Modern linguistics categorization does not always align with ESL terminology, and as this is an ESL website, not one about linguistics, I always prefer the ESL terminology where they differ. In 17 years of classroom teaching, I don't remember one student saying the word "determiner". You're unlikely to find it in any mainstream ESL textbook, but you will find "possessive adjective" in just about all of them.
    – gotube
    Jan 18, 2022 at 2:37

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