Indefinite Articles: a and an
Indefinite means that the modified noun refers to any member of a group.
The rules for which article, a or an, to use in a given situation follow:
- “A” is used before any word that begins with a consonant whether the
word is a noun or an adjective.
Examples: a field trip, a trip to the park, a joyful ride
- “An” is used before any word that begins with a vowel whether the word
is a noun or an adjective.
Examples: an elephant, an apple, an eventful evening
NOTE: The rules above are true in most cases, but there are a few exceptions.
A Few Exceptions:
- Use an before unsounded h.
Examples: an honest mistake, an honorable award
- Use an when discussing all vowels except u and consonants f, h, l, m, n, r, s, and
Example: Mary’s name begins with an M.
- Use a when u makes the same sound as the y in you.
Examples: a unit, a unicorn, a U.S. citizen
Indefinite articles are also used to show membership in a profession, nation, or religion.
- Lin is a doctor.
- Fred is an American.
- Juan is a Catholic.
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