Course Content
INTERJECTION
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Subject And Predicate
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PHRASAL VERB
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SENTENCE PATTERN
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HOMOPHONES
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Idioms And Phrases
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Definition – Question Tag
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REPORTED SPEECH
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ABBREVIATIONS & ACRONYMS
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REPHRASING SENTENCES
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English Grammar Tutorials
About Lesson

THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE

Indefinite Definition:

The words a and an are called indefinite articles. We can use them with singular nouns to talk about any single person or thing.

Deciding which indefinite article to place in front of a word depends upon the initial sound of the word, not the first letter of the word.

When to use a; when to use an

The Indefinite Article (A)

Definition For A:

‘A’ is used before words beginning with a consonant sound.

e.g.

a usual a student a doctor a hotel

The Indefinite Article (An)

Definition For An:

The article ‘an’ should be placed before words that begin with a vowel sound.

The initial sound should be a, e, i, o, or u.

e.g.

an hour an elephant an actor an ice-cream

RULES For A And An

1. ‘A’ must be used before words which begin with a vowel symbol pronounced with the same sound as the ‘y’ or a ‘w’-like sound.

e.g.

a Europe a uniform a union a unique
a unitarian a united a university a usual
a useful thing a year a one-eyed giant a one-dollar note

2. Sometimes, ‘an’ is found before words beginning with the letter ‘h’.

Silent ‘h’ : ‘an’ is used before these words :

e.g.

an hour an honour an heir an heirloom
an hourly an honorarium an honesty an honorary

But this practice is going out. If ‘h’ is pronounce, ‘a’ is used:

e.g.

a hotel a house a horse a human being

3. We use AN before abbreviations that begin with vowel sound.

e.g.

an M.A., an M.Sc., an M.B.B.S., an M.L.A.
an N.C.C Officer an M.Com., an M.C.A an M.B.A.,

4. ‘a’ or ‘an’ must be used before a singular noun standing for things that can be counted.

e.g.

England is a country London is a city
Rice is a cereal A dog is an animal

5. ‘a’ or ‘an’ must be used before the names of professions.

e.g.

His father is a doctor
She is an engineer

6. Words like hero, genius, fool, thief and liar take the indefinite article.

e.g.

Beware of that fellow; he is a liar
My friend is a genius

7. The following word has indefinite article. Such + a/an + noun (or) Such + a/an + adjective + noun

e.g.

Such a thing Such a person
Such an honour Such an interesting story

8. The following word has indefinite article. so + adjective + a/an + noun

e.g.

So interesting a person So nice an opportunity

9. ‘Few’ and ‘Little’ are negative meaning. ‘A few’ and ‘a little’ are positive and mean ‘some’

e.g.

He has little knowledge of this subject I have a little money on me
He has few friends I have a few books on this subject

10. In its original numerical sense of one; as,

e.g.

Not a word was said Twelve inches make a foot
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush I have a book

11Aan = one thing or person.

e.g.

Sara works in a bank Can I ask a question?
I have not got a car There’s a woman at the bus stop

12. We use a/an when we say what a thing or a person is.

e.g.

The sun is a star Football is a game
A mouse is an animal. It’s a small animal He is a very jolly person

13. We use a/an for jobs, etc.

e.g.

I am a dentist He is a teacher
She is a student Are you an engineer?

 

Note : The indefinite articles are not used before plural nouns, proper nouns, abstract nouns, uncountable and material nouns.

e.g.

A dog is a faithful animal Dogs are faithful animals
Definition of Article
Definite Article
 
 
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