Inicio > Recursos Inglés > INDEFINITE ARTICLES


24 / 01 / 2005

INDEFINITE ARTICLES: meaning and examples

Good morning. I hope you enjoyed your weekend. Several weeks ago we received a request from Yolanda C. to include some Daily Vitamins about articles (A-AN-THE). The use of articles is a big area so we will divide it into smaller pieces: 1) basic rules for using the indefinite articles ("A" and "AN") 2) basic rules for using the definite article (THE) 3) basic rules for using no articles 4) typical translation errors from Spanish to English Due to the limited space in the Daily Vitamins, our lessons will be somewhat simplified. For more information I encourage you to look in your own English textbook or grammar book. INDEFINITE ARTICLES A or AN Remember that we use the indefinite article "A" before a word that begins with a consonant sound and the indefinite article "AN" before words that begin with a vowel sound. "A" before a Consonant sound --> a book; a house; a big elephant; a uniform. (Notice that "uniform" begins with a vowel, but the sound is a semi-consonant sound, [y], so we use "A".) "AN" before a Vowel sound --> an idea; an egg; an old car; an umbrella. When do we use indefinite articles? A) We use indefinite articles to refer to one person or thing, in general: -That's a good idea. -I have an apple. B) We use indefinite articles before singular countable nouns: -They own a big house (not "a big houses"). -She's drinking a glass of milk. (not "a milk"). C) We use indefinite articles to introduce a person or thing for the first time: -A large dog followed me home yesterday. It was a friendly dog. D) We use indefinite articles in descriptions: -It was a friendly dog. -He has a big nose. -It was an interesting film. E) We use indefinite articles to give definitions: -This is a pencil sharpener. We use it to sharpen pencils. F) We use indefinite articles to say what someone's job is: -I'm an engineer. -Tony is a teacher. As you can see, only some of the uses of the indefinite article are the same in English and Spanish. Tomorrow we will look at how to use the definite article (THE). If you have any questions so far, please don't hesitate to contact me. Enjoy your day, and stay warm!