Indefinite Article

A singular countable noun always has an article or another determiner with it.

The indefinite article a/an is used to talk about one particular person or thing when the listener does not know which one is meant, or when it does not matter which one.

  • She married an old man.
  • They have a big house in the city.
  • You had better consult a doctor.
  • I saw a hawker selling his wares on the street.
  • A man came and knocked at the door.

A/an is also used to talk about any one member of a class.

  • A teacher must have patience. (=any teacher)
  • A spider has eight legs. (=any spider)
  • A dog is faithful to its master.
  • A parrot can repeat what you say.

Cases where the indefinite article should not be used

With plural and uncountable nouns

The indefinite article cannot used before plural and uncountable nouns.

  • Apples are red.
  • Computers are expensive.
  • Time is money.

With possessives

We cannot use the indefinite article with possessives. We use double possessives instead.

  • He is a friend of mine. (NOT He is a my friend.)

With adjectives without nouns

We cannot use the indefinite article with an adjective alone (without a noun).

  • She is a beautiful girl.
  • She is beautiful. (NOT She is a beautiful.)
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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