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



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.