inglese - the indefinite article
The indefinite article ia A oppure AN
The form A is used before a word beginning with a consonant ore a vowel sounded like a consonant :
a man a table a university a useful thing
The forma an is used before wod beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or words beginning with a mute h
an hour an honourable man an elephant an apple
It is the same for all genders.
The indefinite article A oppure AN is used :
a) Before a singular countable noun which is used as en example of a class of things :
a car must be insured = all cars /any car must be insured
a child needs love = all child need/ any child needs love
b) Before a singular noun which is contable when it is mentioned for the first time and represents no particular person or thing :
I need a Holiday
They live in a bungalow
there is a policeman at the door
c) with a noun complement. This includes names of professions
He is a doctor
He become an actor
d) In certain numerical expressions
half a dozen
a lot of
a great many
a great deal of
e) In expressions of price speed ratio ecc.
5 p a kilo
£ 1 a metre
sixty kilometres an hour
10 p a dozen
four time a day
f) With few and little
a few = a small number or what the speaker considers a small number
a little = a small amount or what the speaker considers a small amount
few and little can also be used without article but then have an almosto negative meaning and can usually be replaced by hardly any
We had little time for amusement implies that we were Always busy.
g) In exclamations before singular countable nouns
what a hot day
what a pretty girl
such a pity
h) A can be placed before mr mrs and miss + surname
a mr Smith = a man called Smith
The indefinite article is not used :
a) Before plural nouns
The indefinite article has no plural form. Therefore the plural of a dog is dogs.
b) before uncontable nouns
The following nouns are singular and and uncountable in English :
advice information news baggage luggage furniture
They are often preceded by some any a little a lot of a piece of etc.
I'll give you a piece of advice
you need some more forniture
knowledge is also considered uncontable but when used in particulare sense take the article
a knowledge of languages is Always useful
hair (all the hair on one's head ) is considered uncountable but if we consider each hair separately we say one hair two hairs
experience meaning practice in doing somthing is uncountable.
But an experience meaning something which happens to someone is countable :
He had an exciting esperience (an adventure) last night.
Materials glass, wood, iron, stone, paper, cloth, wine, coffee, tea, etc., are considered uncountable. But many of these nouns can also denote one particular thing,and then take an article :
window are made of glass
but I've got a paper (newspaper).
c) Before abstract nouns : beauty happiness fear hope Death etc.
except when they are used in particular sense
he was pale with fear
Some children suffer from a fear of the dark
d) Before names of meals except when preceded by an adjective :
we have breakfast at eight
he gave us a good breakfast
The article is also used when it is a special meal given to celebrate something or in someone's honour :
I was invited to dinner (at their house in the ordinary way)
I was invited to a dinner given to welcome the new Ambassador.