Do We Use “Articles” In Sinhala? Is There An Equivalent To “The”, “A”, & “An”?

dilshan jayasinha

Most of you who’ve known me for a while know that I’m not a big fan of all these fancy “grammar” words…

And so I try my best to avoid them. I’m not just talking about weird sounding words like “Subjunctive” or “Gerund” but even simple things likes “Articles”.


Simply because most of the time, I need to look it up to know what on earth it means (See, told you I was not a “teacher”).

But sometimes, I can’t get around them and have to use them. This is one of those posts, so bear with me. But just know that although I’ll be saying “Articles” throughout the post, I’m simply referring to the words “The”, “A”, & “An”…


The GOOD News And (Unfortunately) The NOT-SO-GOOD News About Articles In Sinhala

The GOOD news: There is no equivalent for “The” in spoken Sinhala

Remember from the Sinhala adjectives post that “dog” is ‘balla’?

The good news is that in Sinhala, “The dog” is also ‘balla’.


For example; “The dog is eating” would be ‘balla kava’

Easy? Happy?

Good. Now get ready for less good news…


The NOT-SO-GOOD News: Not only does the Sinhala equivalent for “A”/”An” exist but it’s also kind of tricky…

Unlike in English where we simply put “A”/”An” before the noun, in Sinhala we need to change the last syllable of the noun.

For example:

  • “Dog” = ‘balla’
  • “A dog” = ‘ballék’

We replaced the last letter ‘a’ with ‘ék’. But if the noun was a “thing” or an “object”, then we replace “ȧ” with ‘ak’. Not so bad, right?…

lazy but smart sinhala confused


Ok, fine. Calm down and keep your “jungies” on… Dilshan’s got you covered. I present to you the “Lazy But Smart Guidelines”:


“Lazy But Smart Guidelines” – Using The Equivalents Of “A”/”An” With A Noun In Sinhala

Here’s what I did…

I took a list of some common nouns that we’ve seen, and just started converting them to the “A”/”An” equivalent. I just wanted to see if there was a pattern. And indeed, a pattern there was.

Here’s a summary of what I saw, all in one downloadable image, just the way you like it. Click to enlarge.


lazy but smart guidelines - sinhala articles


Protecting My “Brown Sri Lankan Ass” – A Disclaimer About These Guidelines

lazy but smart sinhala protecting my ass-1


Before some of you begin to find holes in my guidelines above, know this:

  • I’m not saying that they apply to ALL the nouns in Sinhala. I could never test that because:
    • there are so many Sinhala words that I don’t know
    • I honestly can’t see my impatient self spending that much time testing each word.
  • But I can tell you for sure that for all the words I’ve tested so far (which were quite a lot) , the rule definitely applies
  • As you’d expect, there are exceptions to the guidelines. However, I won’t even talk about them in this post since they rarely occur. Saving that for Part 2 of this post.
  • If you do find an inconsistency in what I’ve said above, I’d love to hear from you. Believe it or not, although I do tend to come across as an arrogant ass (and by “ass” I mean “donkey”, obviously…) I believe I am humble enough to be corrected.


Putting This Stuff To Practical Use

Remember this guy, the “good-looking dog” from my previous post?



Well, I could use him as an example for this one too but I’m someone who likes variety and who likes to keep things fresh. So I’ve decided to introduce a new character for this post.



…Ladies & Gents, I’d like to introduce you to “Fat Man”!

lazy but smart sinhala dilruk jayasinha

Fat Man



Learning to say “fat man”

We saw both these words in Sinhala Adjectives Part 2. This is just to refresh your memory:

fat ma∙ha∙thȧ       
man mi∙ni∙ha       


  • But wait, I told you before that in Sinhala there is no equivalent for “The”.
    • So this means that “fat man” = “The fat man” = ‘ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙ha’
fat man / the fat man ma∙ha∙thȧ   mi∙ni∙ha       

Learning to say “You are THE fat man”

  • You know by now (as we saw in the first Sinhala Video Tutorial) that “is/am/are” in Sinhala are usually implied, so we can re-write this sentence as:
    • “You (are) the fat man” – I’ve put “am” within parentheses to show that it’s implied.
  • You also know from that same tutorial that “you” = ‘o∙yaa’
  • And we just saw that “fat man” = “The fat man” = ‘ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙ha’
  • So if we put all this together, “You are the fat man” would simply be:
You are THE fat man o∙yaa   ma∙ha∙thȧ   mi∙ni∙ha       

Easy peasy sleazy greasy…


Learning to say “You are A fat man”

  • We know that “man” in Sinhala is ‘mi∙ni∙ha’
  • Following the above Lazy But Smart Guidelines we also know that since ‘mi∙ni∙ha’ is a “People & Animal” noun ending with ‘a’ all we need to do is replace it with ‘ék’
  • And so…


A man mi∙ni∙hék       

Therefore, “A fat man” would be…

A fat man ma∙ha∙thȧ   mi∙ni∙hék       

And finally, to say “You (are) a fat man”, like before, we just add ‘o∙yaa’ to the beginning of the sentence.

You are a fat man o∙yaa   ma∙ha∙thȧ   mi∙ni∙hék       


Easy, right?

That’s “almost” the end of this post… But before that… I’d like to ask you to do something for me.

Please share this with your friends by clicking one of the social media buttons so that I become so famous that… I’ll need to wear a disguise every time I walk out of the house just to avoid being mobbed by screaming fans who want to touch me and kiss me.

Thanks! :)



Bonus Supplement: Replacing words in “You are a fat man”

Here’s a little bonus supplement for you to download, print, treasure, keep under your pillow, etc. It should help you really digest internalize every thing you learned above.

Just right-click on the “Bonus” image below and save/download the PDF.



And Finally, A Special “Thank You”…

To my “little” brother (a.k.a. “Komitel Brother”) who gladly let me use his photo as “Fat Man” above.

I’ll end this post by showing you a photo of the two of us from way back then when we were neither “fat” nor “men” :)

Leave all your questions, comments, and suggestions in the comments section below. Speak to you in a bit.



That’s me (on the left) with “Komitel Brother” (on the right)

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36 Responses to Do We Use “Articles” In Sinhala? Is There An Equivalent To “The”, “A”, & “An”?

  1. Elisabeth December 1, 2014 at 06:26 #

    Well, once again, happy happy birthday, Dilshan!

    Great blog as usual. Again I learned something, I always thought that one just added a ‘k’ in the end to make any noun indefinite. Now I see there is a difference between living things and objects etc.

    Don’t know how you get the time to do this, but it is very much appreciated! And yes, oyaa maru vayasaka minihek. (Can one line up adjectives in that way or will they get modified in some way?)

    Have a great time and take care,


    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 1, 2014 at 07:55 #

      haha, maru vayasaka minihék! Yes, you can line up adjectives just like that. Well done!

      Glad you liked the post and you learned something new.

      Thanks again for the wishes! All the best to you too!

    • raji April 20, 2015 at 22:20 #

      hi, the way you teach us the new thing is very excellent. The words with pictures are very easy to keep in memory ……thanks a lot

  2. Shirley V December 2, 2014 at 01:41 #

    Awws you two were cute babies, you had your sexy eyes back then.. :)

    On to the post, great information there, just as aggravating as the similar application for English and French. Great job.

  3. Clarissa December 5, 2014 at 06:03 #

    Great! Thanks again! This will continue to help me not sound like a complete idiot in my attempts at basic Sinhala.

  4. Jothy December 6, 2014 at 00:31 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    Many thanks for the lessons on Articles. Though I’m familiar with the above Sinhala nouns with articles, now only I understand the meaning.

    Je te prie de continuer.

    Merci de nouveau


  5. Vithursan December 13, 2014 at 08:52 #

    Hi Dilshan Jayasinha, It is a good explanation as simple as usual. I was learnt lot of from your blog and i requesting to write more articles as a reader.


  6. Sara December 13, 2014 at 16:56 #

    Very interesting! Thank you again for doing this and making it funny as well. The recorded pronunciations are very helpful to hear slight differences in vowels. Your friend is generous to lend himself as “the fat man”!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 13, 2014 at 18:52 #

      You’re welcome Sara. Glad you found it interesting and funny.

      And “Fat Man” is actually my little brother :)

  7. Gowry December 14, 2014 at 10:27 #

    It’s interesting Dilshan. Im waiting for further lession and articles from you.Thank you very much.

  8. Elizabeth December 14, 2014 at 14:47 #

    Hello Dilshan

    Well Dilshan, you have been cute right along to this very day. On dear me, I can’t believe
    the Fat Man is your brother, what a contrast. There is nothing surprising because anyone who loves food is bound to take that road, so what? Please convey my best to Dilruk.

    No I did not miss your last post & yes I will be having a great weekend & hope the same with you.

    Talk to you later & take care Dilshan.

    Elizabeth T.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 20, 2014 at 07:28 #

      Hi Elizabeth, I shall convey your regards to my brother.

      Take care and thanks for your comment.

  9. Abdur Rahman AR December 15, 2014 at 09:40 #

    1000000000 times of Thanks dear Dilshan :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 20, 2014 at 07:29 #

      And 1000000000 + 1 times of “You’re welcome, Abdur” :)

  10. Heshan December 15, 2014 at 19:09 #

    Hi Dilshan
    Found the post very interesting. I think i’m confident with articles in Sinhala. I was wondering whether something like tree (gasa) would be considered animate or inanimate.
    Continue with your posts in the future.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 20, 2014 at 07:31 #

      Hi Heshan, good question. Just like in English “tree” (‘gasa’ or ‘gaha’) will be considered inanimate in Sinhala.

  11. mihiri December 29, 2014 at 06:52 #

    godak istutti. mama koreanuwek. mata zutakzutak riyawanna, kiyawanna, katha karanna puluva.
    Hebei Uthcharnaya godak amarui. ape korean Uthgcharnaya tiyenne. la, ra ewagema tha, ta wage……

    kohomaunath , mama me blog ekka godak ashai……

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 29, 2014 at 12:10 #

      Hi Mihiri, thanks for the comment. Love that you wrote it in Sinhala :)

      Take care and speak to you again soon (in Sinhala again please)

  12. Julie January 4, 2015 at 23:47 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    what cool blog-post. Smart as always – and thanks to your brother the bog is not only great for learning grammatical stuff but also to have some more to laugh about your examples.

    Actually you become a crack in grammar with your blog :-)
    Hehe, I assume that’s something you’ve never intended to be

    • Dilshan Jayasinha January 13, 2015 at 16:52 #

      Hi Julie! Yeah, my brother is a great sport. Always ready to do anything for a laugh.

      Thanks for the compliment (“crack in grammar”). Yes, remember back when I first started this blog how I used to avoid doing such posts? And you were one of the “Tribesters” who would not give up on sending me continuous requests. So this is all thanks to people like you, I’ll happily admit it :)

  13. Diggz January 8, 2015 at 23:21 #

    Legend bro, so helpful.

  14. Filiz Isabella February 14, 2015 at 11:47 #

    Thank you, Dilshan, for the great post!
    It’s very helpful and funny as usual (especially the pic of your littel brother)… And how sweet and small you two were when you were young :D
    I also like that you pronounce the words/sentences!
    Now, I’m gonna suprise my grandma with how stupid I find Valentines Day to be in Sinhala!! (She will love it anyway, no matter what I say, …as long as I try to say it in Sinhala, …or actually no matter what – since she’s my grandma :)) But I get better thanks to your blog that maked it so easy to learn!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha April 21, 2015 at 13:24 #

      Thanks so much Filiz and really sorry about not replying earlier. I don’t think I saw this until now. Hope your grandmother found it amusing :) Do let me know how it went. Thanks again for your comment, I appreciate it.

  15. amali May 16, 2015 at 08:29 #

    I am doing a research regarding the errors that the sinhala speakers do in using articles. can you please help to find some data.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 31, 2015 at 17:34 #

      Hi Amali, truly sorry for the delay. Anyway, I don’t think I would’ve been of help to you as I don’t think I have the time to allocate to research like this. Hopefully, you found some information that helped your study.

      All the best and sorry again for the delay.

  16. Ganesh S H August 13, 2015 at 06:07 #

    Dear Dilshan! M frm India & wanna learn Sinhala, can u plzz post some guide lines to mail id.. Thnk U

    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 15, 2015 at 05:42 #

      Hi Ganesh, if you’re signed up to my mailing list, then you will receive a series of emails from me.

  17. Drupathi April 20, 2016 at 11:07 #

    Great job Dilshan! Your blog is awesome!. Thanks for the effort taken. You are doing us proud man. Best wishes for your future endeavours.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha April 20, 2016 at 11:15 #

      Thanks Drupathi! Always happy to get encouragement from “apey ekkenek”.

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