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The Indefinite Article A (An)

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The Indefinite Article A (An)

There are two forms of the indefinite article in English – ‘a’ and ‘an’.

We use ‘a’ when the word following the article starts wih a consonant sound (a street, a house, a desk), but we normally use ‘an’ when the word following the article starts with a vowel sound (an umbrella, an apple, an hour).

Since the indefinite article has meaning similar to number one, we cannot use it with plural nouns.

We also do not use it with uncountable nouns. We use ‘some’ instead. (Would you like some coffee?)

We use the indefinite article a (an):

  • in front of countable nouns we are mentioning for the first time (I saw a cat in the street).
  • with singular countable nouns when we talk about things in general (An airplane is faster than a train)
  • after the verbs ‘be’ and ‘have’ (Jack is a waiter; I have a pencil)
  • with the names of professions (He is a doctor)
  • before time and measurement phrases (half an hour; cucumbers are 3 pounds a kilo)
  • with a noun complement (It is a good dog)
  • in front of word ‘very’

Exercises:

Put ‘a’ or ‘an’ where necessary:

  1. They are making _______ snowman.
  2. She bought half _______ pound  of bananas.
  3. ____ boy is feeding ____ monkey.
  4. Brigitte is ____ police officer.
  5. I have ____ cat.
  6. She is _____ very good driver.
  7. There’s ____ fly in my soup.
  8. Give me ____ orange, please.

Put ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘some’ where necessary:

  1. She’s looking for ____ book about elephants.
  2. I’ve bought _____ fruit.
  3. There is ___ blue flower here and ____ red ones over there.
  4. We have ______ cheese in the fridge.

Answers: 1. a, 2. a, 3. a, a, 4. a, 5. a, 6. a, 7. a, 8. an

  1. a, 2. some, 3. a, some, 4. some
The Indefinite Article A (An)

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Categories: Grammar

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