ENGLISH 4U
English Language Learning

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A or An - The Indefinite Articles

The difference of a and an

You can use a and an for all genders in the singular. If you have to use a or an, depends on the sound the word begins with.

If the first sound is a consonant you have to use a.

a banana
a sandwich
a toffee

If the first sound is a vowel you have to use an.

an orange
an a pple
an ice cream

NOTE:
an hour - because the first letter is silent and the word starts with an au-sound.
a uniform, a university - because the first letter starts with a ju-sound.

Use of the indefinite article a and an

1. We can use a and an before countable nouns:

That's a fast car. My aunt has got a big house.

2. We often use a and an to tell what someone/something is and what someone/something is like in the singular:

A hamster is an animal. Sarah is a very smart girl. Her dad is a mechanic.
Shakespeare is an English writer. Lisa has got a small nose.

3. We use a and an if the listener doesn't know which thing we mean:

Frank sat down on a sofa. (we don't know which sofa)
Do you have a bike? (it's not a particular bike)

4. We use a and an before phrases of time and measurements:

We can do these exercises in an hour. The mangos are $3.50 a kilo.
Our neighbours go on holidays three times a year.


EXERCISES

Indefinite Article a or an Exercise 1
Indefinite Article a or an Exercise 2
Indefinite Article a or an Exercise 3