The indefinite article – a, an
1. When to use the indefinite articles – a, an
We use the indefinite articles with nouns that we can count:
We do not use them with plurals of countable nouns as a/an means one:
We no not use them with nouns that we cannot count as we do not think of them as separate units:
- knowledge (not
- furniture (not
We use the indefinite articles when the listener doesn’t know which specific thing we are talking about:
- My sister has a German boyfriend.
The indefinite article a/an is the same for all genders.
- a boy
- an elephant
- a chair
1.2 When to use a and when to use an
We use an if the following word starts with a spoken vowel.
2. Use of the indefinite article a/an
2.1. before phrases of time and measurements (per week/weekly)
- We have German 2 times a week.
- I go on holiday once a year.
- Our car can do 120 miles an hour.
- Oranges are €3 a kilo.
2.2. before phrases of jobs
2.3. with a noun complement
2.4. before phrases of nationality
- Barack Obama is an American.
- We need half a kilo of coffee.
- This is quite an interesting book.