When we were studying Intermediate, we used to say that "I got first class in my Tenth class public Examination". Our English lecturer would repeatedly correct us by saying that" I got a first class in my Tenth class public examination" stressing the use of article in the sentence.I want to know whether the use of article a is necessary or not in the sentence.

  • 1
    American here, so I will not actually answer and defer to the Brits - but it looks from online search as though either "received first class honors" or "received a first-class" are in use, whereas "received first-class" is not.
    – BadZen
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 3:09
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    I wrote an answer based around the grades for honours degrees, but then I realised that these are grades for school exams, taken at age 16, and so this is an Indian idiom, not a British one. Education systems and their jargon are notoriously diverse, and everybody assumes that the grading system used in their country will be understood worldwide.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 6:33
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    Yes, specifying the exam and country would help clarify, as these things vary a lot.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


Generally the article "a" is preferred. But omitting it is such a minor error that I wouldn't bother to correct it in a student.

I got an A-star in French. (UK A-levels 18+)

I got a nine in Art. (UK GCSE 16+)

I got a GPA of 4.0 in my senior year. (US High School and college)

I got a starred distinction. (UK vocational qualifications)

I got a first class in Hindi. (Indian Standard and Highers)

(These all represent the highest achievement)

For the UK university system, you would say

I got a first. (UK university)

You don't use "a" when giving a measured mark or percentage

I got 75 per cent

I got 12 out of 20.

  • Thank you so much Mr James for your timely and useful explanation. You always explain well Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 7:51
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    You're welcome. Not Mr James, James is my first name. One doesn't use Mr with first names (in normal contexts). (and not "sir" either, I strongly dislike being called "sir") Plain "James" is fine.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 7:54
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    That may be worth a separate question, but yes, use Mr/Ms with surnames.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 8:46
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    See ell.stackexchange.com/questions/124814/…
    – James K
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 9:31
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    I will add a potential exception to this. As an American, when specifically talking about school grades measured in percent, I would in fact say "I got a 75", "I got a 75%", or "I got 75%" all interchangeably. I would not, however, say "I got 75". Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 20:24

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