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An article is a kind of adjective, such as the and a, that indicates whether the thing being discussed is something specific, nonspecific, or unique.

In Ido, there is, strictly speaking, only one kind of article — the definite:

The Definite Article

The definite article indicates that a person or thing has already been mentioned, is common knowledge, is about to be defined, or is otherwise a specific member of a class of similar people or things. In English, the definite article is the. In Ido, it’s la:

Ni drinkas la sango, ni manjas la korpo. Saluto, Satano! We drink the blood, we eat the body. Hail Satan!
(the blood and body of Christ)
Ka vu savas la voyo a San-Jose? Do you know the way to San Jose?
(the best way)
Me esas la viro en la buxo. I’m the man in the box.
(the man being punished in the hot box)
Akompanez la kap-raziti por keglo-ludo. Take the skinheads bowling.
(the ones on my lawn)
Karolus la Kalva Charles the Bald
(as opposed to Charles the Great or Charles the Fat)

As in English, the definite article can be used to indicate a single, countable noun in general, though it’s more common in English to use plural nouns with no article at all:

Esas la servisto qua prenas pekunio. It’s the servant who takes money.
La feo portas boti. Fairies wear boots.

The definite article is used before a generic noun followed by a proper noun to indicate a unique entity:

la bando Coil (the band) Coil
la spacala kroznavo Yamato (the) space cruiser Yamato

When followed by an adjective, la can be used alone as a stand-in for a person or thing:

La vua esas la intelekto supera! Yours is the superior intellect!
Mea matro dicis ke me selektez la maxim bona, e vu ne esas lu. My mother told me to pick the very best one and you are not it.

The same formula is used to express the names of languages, where those languages are associated with a particular ethnic group:

Vu povus avertar li ... se vu nur parolus la hovita. You could warn them ... if only you spoke Hovitos.
Vu ne parolas la angla, Keith! Vu parolas Esperanto, od ula linguo quan jemeli docas l’una a l’altra! You aren't speaking English, Keith! You're speaking Esperanto, or some sort of language that twins teach each other!

The definite article in Ido does not normally change according to number, but when indicating a plural noun that is either unspoken or has no plural form (e.g., letters, numbers, family names), one uses le:

milito inter le blanka e le reda a war between the whites and the reds
(white and red Russians)
le yes e le no the ayes and the nays
Triviala diskuto an nia tablo! Me sentas me quale le Kardashian! A vapid discussion at our table! I feel like the Kardashians!

La is often used to introduce a kinship relation, body part, article of clothing, or other object intimately associated with the speaker:

Cesez tushar la filiino. Stop touching my daughter.
Cesez tushar la genuo. Stop touching my knee.
Cesez tushar la chapelo. Stop touching my hat.
Cesez tushar la iPhone. Stop touching my iPhone.

The Indefinite Articles

The indefinite article indicates that the person or thing being introduced is a nonspecific member of a class of similar people or things.

In Ido, any common noun without a definite article is by default indefinite.

Me vidas mortinti. I see dead people.
Pesto ad amba vua domi! A plague o’ both your houses!
Feliceso esas varma pafilo. Happiness is a warm gun.
libereso, egaleso, frateso liberté, égalité, fraternité
Plezus a me pano. I’d like some bread.

However, there are also words for “some”, “certain”, and “any” that one can use to underscore in­def­initeness or turn a proper noun into a common one:

Ula kerlo kolizionegis kun mea parafango, e me dicis ad il ‘Esez fruktoza e multeskez’. Ma ne per ta vorti. Some guy hit my fender, and I told him ‘be fruitful, and multiply.’ But not in those words.
Politikala diskuto an nia tablo! Me sentas me quale ula Kennedy! A political discussion at our table! I feel like a Kennedy!
Me deziras ofico quan irga viro povas facar. I want a job that any man can do.

Note that while the absence of indefinite articles in Ido makes the language easier to use in many cases — especially for those whose own language doesn’t have them — one must take care not to confuse indefinite common nouns with proper nouns, especially in speech:

Custer esis vinkita da Fola Kavalo. Custer was defeated by Crazy Horse.
Custer esis vinkita da fola kavalo. Custer was defeated by a crazy horse.
En la komenco esis la Vorto, e la Vorto esis kun Deo, e la Vorto esis Deo. In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
En la komenco esis la Vorto, e la Vorto esis kun deo, e la Vorto esis deo. In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with a god, and the Word was a god.