♔ THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE – A / AN

key_small  A / AN is an undefinite article.

We use the article A before singular, countable nouns starting with a consonant sound.

A boy

A car

A house

We use the article AN before singular, countable nouns starting with a vowel sound (a,e,i,o,u).

An apple

An orange

An architect

 

Note:

An before an h mute - an hour, an honour.

A before u and eu when they sound like "you": a European, a university, a unit.

 

If there is an adjective or an adverb-adjective combination before the noun, A /AN should agree with the first sound in the adjective or the adverb-adjective combination.

 

He was an excellent father.

A really beautiful car.

 

The indefinite article A / AN  is used:

 

To refer to something for the first time:

 

A boy and a girl were waiting in the street.

Would you like a piece of cake?

I've finally got a new laptop.

 

To refer to a particular member of a group or class:

 

With names of jobs:

John is a teacher.

Mary is training to be an engineer.

He wants to be an artist.

 

With nationalities and religions:

John is an Englishman.

Kate is a Catholic.

 

With musical instruments:

Sherlock Holmes was playing a violin when the visitor arrived. (But we say "He plays the violin" to describe the activity. )

 

With names of days:

I was born on a Tuesday.

 

To refer to a kind of, or example of something:

 

This girl had a tiny nose.

The elephant had a long trunk.

It was a very old house.

 

With singular nouns, after the words "what" and "such":

What a shame!

She's such a beautiful girl.

 

 

Meaning 'one', referring to a single object or person:

I'd like an orange and two lemons please.

The thief stole a diamond necklace and a valuable painting.

 

In English, some nouns are considered uncountable such as: information, air, advice, salt and fun. We do not use A / AN with these uncountable nouns.

She always gives me a good advice.

She always gives me good advice.

 

Notice also that we usually say a hundred, a thousand, a million.

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