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Indefinite articles

The indefinite articles a and an are grammatically the same. They both mean ‘one of many’. There are two facts about indefinite articles:

  1. They are used only with singular nouns.
  2. They are rarely used with proper nouns.

When to use indefinite articles

a/ an is used to refer to a non-specific member of a group.

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Here is another way to think about it.

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Using a or an

We have already reviewed that the indefinite articles a and an are grammatically the same. However, when to use either a or an depends on the sound of the next word. Use a when the word that follows begins with a consonant sound.

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Use an if the next word begins with a vowel sound, even if the letter is not a vowel (eg. an hour).

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Sometimes, it is not so straightforward.

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Even though ‘u’ is a vowel and ‘y’ is often a vowel, they are not vowel sounds in these sentences.

 

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