Questions tagged [indefinite-article]

An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Articles: When do I use “a”, “the”, or “__”?

How do I know whether to use the definite (the) or indefinite (a, an) article, and when to omit it altogether?
40
votes
3answers
288k views

“An hour” or “a hour”

Which indefinite article should precede hour — a or an? an hour a hour Does the usage of an vs a depend on the pronunciation — a history, a hobby, but an hour, an honor?
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Should individual letters be preceded with “an”?

I was reading a comic book and I noticed that the author used "an A" and "an N" in a particular phrase (screenshot below). While I understand the usage of "An A" here (A being a vowel and what not) ...
5
votes
3answers
761 views

Is 'a' implying one of the family?

Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair. (Harry Potter) Why is ‘a’ put, ...
5
votes
1answer
198 views

Why the indefinite article in “Their campaign mounts in fury as a free Europe crumbles”

From The Imitation Game (2014), more spefically, from a WW2-era newsreel snippet inserted into the movie to keep the viewer up to date with the events: "The German Army has fanned out across ...
8
votes
1answer
33k views

The confusion between “The” or “A” article

I was reading about articles in Wren & Martin and found the following explanation: 1)Use the definite article when a singular noun is meant to express a whole class. The cow is a useful ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Question about articles: Why is “before the train came” correct?

Example sentence: I had a little time before the train came. Would you please explain to me why it is correct to use "the" before "train"? My teacher told me that "the" is used before objects well-...
11
votes
3answers
92k views

“A few” takes a singular or plural verb in present simple tense?

Does "a few" take a singular or plural verb in present simple tense? A few men lifts the table. A few men lift the table. A few frogs jumps out of the lake. A few frogs jump out of the ...
8
votes
2answers
303 views

Why is using only one “a” enough in this sentence?

[...] Leonardo da Vinci became renowned for his multiple talents: he was a painter, architect, engineer, mathematician and inventor. In the above sentence, why has only one "a" been used, even for ...
13
votes
3answers
24k views

“A first time” or “the first time”

I am not sure what difference there is between This is the first time I've lost my passport. This is a first time I've lost my passport. Would appreciate your explanation.
4
votes
3answers
466 views

The indefinite article applied to a group of things

What does applying the indefinite article to a group of things signify? Inside the box was a pen, pencil and eraser. Inside the box was a pen, a pencil and an eraser. Or, perhaps #2 is ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

A secretary with ____ good knowledge of English: “a” or no article?

I'm trying to pass a test on "Articles exercise" as they call it on the EnglishGrammar site. Reviewing my answers I got stuck about the two I posted on the picture below. As I understand both words ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Indefinite article before uncountable “drink” nouns, e.g. “a water”

I have been reading Bad for You (a novel) for the last seven days. I have seen in the novel that the writer used the indefinite article a before a uncountable noun water. I glanced at Linc again. ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

“a” or “an” in front of a word beginning with a vowel

I was writing a text when I came to say 'a union', then it struck me that I need to change the 'a' to 'an'. But for some reason, 'an union' didn't sound right. Why doesn't it work? Is it because its ...
63
votes
7answers
17k views

“Wow, what a car!” - Is it okay if I say 'Wow, what the car!"

I have been struggling with articles for quite a long time. Most of the times, I understand but then the more I understand them, the more it's getting perplexed! For this particular question, I'm ...
32
votes
4answers
7k views

Should I use “a” or “an” when I abbreviate a word?

Taking notes, I was going to write this: therefore p′ is a shortest path. But the topic is APSP which stands for "all pairs shortest paths" so I decided to just write SP instead and... Is it ...
20
votes
10answers
7k views

“She speaks an impeccable English” vs “She speaks impeccable English”

What is the difference between these sentences? She speaks an impeccable English. She speaks impeccable English. I understand both are correct but is one simply more specific because of ...
27
votes
5answers
850 views

a joyous and restful three days — a three days?

Example: After a joyous and restful three days, I left this beautiful city. Although it still kind of sounds weird to my ears, I know that when a noun, even though in the plural, is used to mean a ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Michael is a New Zealander or Michael is New Zealander? Article before nationalities?

Do I have to say "Michael is a New Zealander" or can I leave out the indefinite article "a"?
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Singular Vs plural while making a general statement

I'm having a hard time understanding whether to use plural or singular while making general sentences. Doing a bit of research I found both can be used. For example: Dogs are loyal animals. A ...
5
votes
1answer
7k views

Articles before profession names: “Ms. Smith, public health nurse, was born…”

I know that, in general, we use an article before a name of a profession. For instance: He is a doctor. But should we put an article in the following cases? Mr. Smith, a doctor, works… Ms. Smith, ...
5
votes
1answer
592 views

D.Trump was elected president or “a” president

Some of you told me that when we put an article before president (a), we are referring to a specific position, but when we don't put an article, that means we are referring to a general position. ...
5
votes
2answers
54k views

“Part of the team” vs. “a part of the team”

I see both of these are used: I'm part of Acme's technical team. I'm a part of Acme's technical team. Which one sounds more natural when introducing myself in an email? Is "Part" ...
2
votes
1answer
13k views

Which one is correct: a strong motivation or strong motivation?

Can you tell me which one is grammatical and why ? When you start learning a new language, you need a strong motivation. Or When you start learning a new language, you need strong motivation.
5
votes
4answers
2k views

“We have a game today” vs. “We have the game today”

When I tell people about the football/baseball/soccer/basketball game they are supposed to have today, I say We have a game today. which I think is strange. It is strange that it sounds idiomatic ...
5
votes
2answers
15k views

Some words starting with vowels, preceded by 'an' instead or 'a' [duplicate]

We've all been taught in primary school how we're supposed to use 'an' instead of 'a' when we talk about an object whose name starts with a vowel, in its singular form. -> An Apple -> An Ostrich-> ...
3
votes
3answers
24k views

The pronunciation of the article “a”?

The word "a" has two pronunciations: (aa) when the mouth is widely opened and (ei) when the mouth is not wide open. I just want to know the difference between them. People have asked questions like ...
3
votes
1answer
941 views

Repeating the indefinite article

Repeating the indefinite article. Is it a matter of style? If so, which quote is more natural [or maybe sounds better]? My name is Amy Purdy, I am a survivor, snowboarder, founder of Adaptive ...
9
votes
2answers
196 views

Using “the” instead of “a” for something that isn't a specific object

I've been curious about this for a while. Generally, one uses "the" if they mean a specific object ("The copy of Lord of the Rings I bought yesterday") instead of any object that fits a description ("...
5
votes
2answers
212 views

“There are a good many scholars …” is it right?

In "Seeing like a state" of James C.Scott there is a sentence at the beginning of a paragraph (Acknowledgements xi): There are a good many scholars whose writings opened up new perspectives for ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

a computer vs computers

I can use computers. I know how to use a computer. Why? And what about the followings. Which of these is the natural sentence to say? He can teach how to use a computer. He can teach how to use ...
2
votes
3answers
318 views

Article usage: “to the speed of 8 km…” vs “to a speed of 8 km…”

I have to take the TOFEL soon, and encountered a sentence from a textbook which made me think. In the case below, instead of using a as a preposition, is using the wrong? Quote: To deliver a ...
2
votes
1answer
157 views

Why there's no article with 'Mexican' and 'an' with American in sentence:

"She’s Mexican. But she’s married to an American." (Pimsleur English course)
2
votes
2answers
164 views

Why does Oxford dictionary say “student life” and not “the student life”?

There is an entry at the oxford dictionary that begins with The popular image of student life is of young people with few responsibilities enjoying themselves and doing very little work Why didn'...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

“the” vs. “a/an” + clauses

Here's the situation: I meet a friend and I tell her about yesterday: “Hey, John!” “Hi, Sarah!” “How was yesterday's trip?” “It was great. Karl took me to the countryside to show me his new ...
2
votes
1answer
241 views

indefinite article before proper names

Kafka, discovered in the 1920s by the Expressionists, damned by the Nazis in the 1930s and by the Marxists at more or less the same time, was reinvented after World War II by the French ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Use of Indefinite Articles(a,an)

Consider the following sentences: I am staying in a hotel nearby. I am staying in an hotel nearby. I know that both are correct. But I would like to know why? I do not see any proper reason for the ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Is the article “a” justified in “they are wearing a cape”

You can't cast aspersions on someone just because they are wearing a cape. Shouldn't it be capes instead of a cape? "a cape" means one cape, "they are" implies it is a group of people, a group of ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

When to use “some” instead of “a”

You were just having some dream. and You were just having a dream. Are both correct? What is the difference, if any?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

“A dreadful five minutes” - what about the article?

In a BBC One show Would I Lie To You the host says "Gary [...] has had to endure a dreadful five minutes." (video on Youtube). I'm curious about the indefinite article, since I've never seen it used ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

I want to get rid of 'article' confusion once and for all!

I know there are innumerable questions about 'articles' on this and other sites on the Internet. I always try to learn them but some or the other way, they play tricks on me. In other words, I am ...
10
votes
2answers
15k views

A doctor VS. the doctor ?

I often watch in movies saying: I am going to see the doctor. Instead of saying “a doctor”. So I keep asking myself, “which doctor is meant? Because he didn’t mention any doctor before ...
3
votes
1answer
456 views

The nuance of understanding the usage of the definite and indefinite article with the word 'FINAL'

Using the indefinite article a with the word final has always confused me. I mean how come something that is final can be considered indefinite! When it's final, it's definitely final, isn't it? An ...
1
vote
1answer
17k views

“English”, “the English” or “an English”? [duplicate]

Well, one thing came in my mind when I've posted a comment on SO. Comment is: Do you understand English? Can we write the English or an English ? I'm generally use Grammar Checker when i confuse, ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

When refer something immediately after it, should I use “a” or “the”?

I guess I understand the basic rules of "A/an and the" in Cambridge Dictionary grammar tutorial. However, I have no idea which rule in that tutorial fits the following situation. A post use article "...
7
votes
1answer
27k views

is it “a M” or “an M”

Is it "using an MD simulation" or "using a MD simulation"? MD stands for "Molecular Dynamics". Since "M" is pronounced "EM", I thought it must be "an". I found both usages on the web through ...
6
votes
4answers
234 views

Why does the name of this book have ‘a’ in it?

Hermione whispered, "Its bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts: A History." (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) I think the name of the book would be better with ‘...
4
votes
2answers
605 views

“the assistant nurse” vs. “an assistant nurse”

Which article (an/the) is correct in this context? This is an exercise we had to complete in our grammar class. I filled it up like this: Write the missing articles, if one is needed. A: Who ...
4
votes
1answer
397 views

Disconnect (the / zero article) power before attempting to repair electrical equipment

Could you please advise which article should be used in the below sentence? I and my friend are doing an exercise of filling suitable article(s) (a / an / the / no article) into the blank of the ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

“the movie” vs “an amazing movie”

Did you see the movie about Dian Fossey's work with mountain gorillas? It was an amazing film. Why is the indefinite article, an, used in the second sentence? It's the same film they are talking ...