Factum est. An is an article as is the and a. Each defines a specific article that is impossible to define without its use. It is not credible to consider defining the term article without the use of an article. So we must accept this as a paradox or is the term An Article an infinite do-loop?
In English, the article, whether a definite or indefinite article is used less often than in some other languages such as Italian where, for no apparent reason to the native English speaker, the article is used in front of personal pronouns such as my – il mio articolo o I miei articoli. For an Englishman, my article is quite sufficient and is all that is necessary to denote perfectly elegantly the definition of the article (and without an article in sight).
But an article can also be an article of clothing or even a sustainable article. And on the subject of sustainability, the article is probably the most sustainable word in language, used more regularly than any other common words, and this is the case whether one is articulate or inarticulate. The article also may be indefinite to the extent of not being part of the firmament such as a definite article of truth rather than an indefinite (or undefined) article of clothing – is it a shoe, the shoe or a hat.
And this brings us to the conundrum of the use of an. An as an indefinite article is definitely used whenever a definitely does not belong. But many who train in English, both native and as a second language, do not recognize naturally when to use an. An is obvious before a vowel, but what about before a soft aitch such as an hoar frost or is it a hoar frost? An insoluble conundrum dependent on the linguistic coach and your home town.
So to round off or possible square up the discussion on articles, we need to prepare an article such as this article on a subject that has less articles and more definitive words.
Ah, parole, parole, parole – but what if the parole is an? No true Italian composer or librettist would deign to waste a high C on a simple article, except possibly Leoncavallo who came very close in the English translation of the prologue to I Pagliacci. So let us to poetry drift and find some lines that avoid and deny the article.