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Indefinite Articles A and AN

  • We only use "a" or "an" with singular count nouns.
  • We use "a" or "an" to talk about a person or thing for the first time.
  • 1. We only use "a" or "an" with singular count nouns. "A" and "An" are called the indefinite article.

    I got a postcard from Hasan.

    Mr. Erhan was eating an apple.

    Remember that we use "a" in front of a word that begins with a consonant sound even if the first letter is a vowel for example "a piece, a university, a European language". We use "an" in front of a word that begins with a vowel sound even if the first letter is a consonant for example "an exercise, an idea, an honest man".

    2. We use "a" or "an" when we are talking about a person or thing for the first time.

    Nichola picked up a book.

    After weeks of looking we eventually bought a house.

    A colleague and I got some money to do research on rats.

    Note that the second time you refer to the same person or thing, we use "the".

    Nichola picked up a book ... ... The book was lying on the table.

    After weeks of looking we eventually bought a house ... ... The house was in a small village.

    3. After the verb "be" or another link verb, we can use "a" or "an" with an adjective and a noun to give more information about someone or something.

    His brother was a sensitive child.

    He seemed a worried man.

    It was a really beautiful house.

    We can also use "a" or "an" with a noun followed by a qualifier, such as a prepositional phrase or a relative clause, when we want to give more information about someone or something.

    The information was contained in an article on biology.

    I chose a picture that reminded me of my own country.

    4. We use "a" or "an" after the verb "be" or another link verb when we are saying what someone is or what job they have.

    He became a school teacher.

    She is a model and an artist.

    5. We use "a" or "an" to mean "one" with some numbers. We can use "a" or "an" with nouns that refer to whole numbers, fractions, money, weights, or measures.

    a hundred
    a thousand
    a quarter
    a half
    a pound
    a dollar
    a kilo
    a litre

    6. We do not use "a" or "an" with uncount nouns or plural count nouns. We do not need to use a determiner at all with plural count nouns, but we can use the determiners "any", "a few", "many", "several", or "some".

    I love dogs.

    Do you have any dogs?

    Many adults don't listen to children.

    I have some children like that in my class.

    Note that if we do not use a determiner with a plural count noun, we are often making a general statement about people or things of that type. For example, if you say "I love dogs" you mean all dogs. However, if you say "There are eggs in the kitchen" you mean there are some eggs. If you do use a determiner, you mean a number of people or things but not all of them, without saying exactly how many.

    I have some friends coming for dinner.

    He has bought some plants for the house.

    I have some important things to tell them.


    A or AN?
    "A" goes before all words that begin with consonants.

    with one exception: Use an before unsounded h.

    "An" goes before all words that begin with vowels:

    with two exceptions: When u makes the same sound as the y in you, then a is used. Check out these examples:

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