Chapter 1-4-2: Indefinite Articles

Grammar > Parts of Speech > Articles > Indefinite Articles

The indefinite articles “a” and “an” accompany nouns that have not been particularly identified (as of yet) to the reader or listener. The nouns in question are either:

① Being mentioned for the first time; or

② Imprecise because they are vague, irrelevant, hypothetical or generalized statements.

For example:

A school was closed due to inclement weather.”

(In this example, the reader knows that a school was closed, but he or she does not know exactly which one. The reader wouldn’t know the name of the school, yet. The author may reveal the name further in the text).

Knowing When to Use "a" or "an" Before Words

    • Use the article “a” before words where the “h” is pronounced (house), and use the article “an” before words where the “h” is silent (hour).

    • Use “an” in front of a noun beginning with a vowel sound. The exception to this is when the word starts with a /y/ sound (yellow, uniform).

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