An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

98
votes
14answers
70k views

When should I use “a” vs “an”?

In the following example, is it appropriate to use a or an as the indefinite article, and why? He ate __ green apple. I know that in the case of just "apple", it would be "an apple," but I've ...
42
votes
8answers
14k views

Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?

I can’t for the life of me figure out where to use a and where to use the — and where there is no article at all. Is there a simple rule of thumb to memorize? The standard rule you always hear: ...
158
votes
7answers
83k views

Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms?

99% of the time, I'm clear on when I should use "a" versus "an." There's one case, though, where people & references I respect disagree. Which of the following would you precede with "a" or "an," ...
72
votes
12answers
59k views

When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?

A basic grammar rule is to use an instead of a before a vowel sound. Given that historic is not pronounced with a silent h, I use “a historic”. Is this correct? What about heroic? Should be “It was a ...
74
votes
10answers
6k views

“A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement

When a/an precedes a parenthetical aside (sometimes seen in informal/conversational writing), should the vowel rule depend on the first word in parentheses, or the next word in the "regular" flow of ...
19
votes
4answers
32k views

Is it “a uniform” or “an uniform”? [duplicate]

On a Physics specification, it says: 6.7 Know how to use two permanent magnets to produce a uniform magnetic field pattern. Isn't it "produce an uniform magnetic field", or is the existing ...
23
votes
6answers
43k views

Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word X-Ray?

I was asking this question on Area 51: "How do I tell if an airport scanner is a X-ray scanner?", but I keep wanting to put an 'an' in front of X-ray because it starts with the 'eh' sound. So is it ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

“a” or “an” for words that don't start with vowels but sound like they're starting with a vowel

Is it correct to say or write an student or an store?
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there specific rules to build expressions with or without articles?

In English, there are lots of expressions built using articles like: at the station to the cinema play the piano have breakfast (no article) take a bath take a shower Are there specific rules or ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Indefinite article in the “An [adjective] [number] [plural noun]” construction

I wasn't sure how best to phrase the title of this question. I'm interested in constructions of the following form: An estimated 50 people died in the bombing. 'An estimated' could be ...
0
votes
0answers
673 views

“A user” or “an user”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” “A” becomes “an” before a word beginning with a vowel, does this apply to “u”? Is it “a ...
16
votes
4answers
52k views

“As part of” versus “as a part of”

When should I use "as part of", and when "as a part of"?
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Definite article with proper nouns, titles followed by a common noun

Over time I developed this rule where if a title or a proper name is followed by a common noun that represents the class of the entity I am referring to, then I use the definite article. In Example 1, ...
24
votes
2answers
1k views

Why don't we use the indefinite article with 'software'?

Generally, one doesn't use the indefinite article with a noun because it's plural, but sometimes you get nouns where, for some reason, the indefinite article isn't used even though the noun is ...
41
votes
8answers
6k views

Why is there no plural indefinite article?

The takes either a singular or a plural subject. A/an only takes the singular. When we pluralize a noun preceded by an indefinite article, we simply drop the article (sometimes replacing it with ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

Is pronouncing “The” as in “Thee” still correct in titles?

When saying the title of JRR Tolkien's masterpiece, which is the correct pronunciation (Yes, I know that they're spelled wrong, but I'm trying to emphasize the pronunciation): Thuh Lord of thuh ...
9
votes
2answers
415 views

“There is X” vs “There is a/an X”

1: There is a reluctance on the part of European companies to buy from American sources. 2: There is an emphasis on the organic roots of spirituality. 3: There is a tendency to make the ...
4
votes
3answers
889 views

“The (Cobra)” vs. “An (elephant)”, articles with nouns denoting a class

[ 1 ] tells on p.5 that "Singular nouns denoting a class" are preceded by the definite article "THE" (Example: "The Cobra is dangerous"), while on page 7 (Table 6. THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE) it tells ...
0
votes
0answers
181 views

A becomes an before a word beginning with a vowel, does this apply to u? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” Is it “a uniform” or “an uniform” In spoken English we do say: He is an unhappy person But I ...
11
votes
5answers
55k views

Which is correct — “a year” or “an year”? [duplicate]

The word year when pronounced starts with a phonetic sound of e which is a vowel sound making it eligible for being preceded by an. Yet, we tend to write a year. Why?
2
votes
1answer
44k views

“To have a dinner” vs “to have dinner”: which one is correct?

Does one need to use the article in this case?
7
votes
1answer
291 views

“You're too clever a man”

You're too clever a man to imagine this. The above sentence was said by George Galloway, a man of excellent rhetorical skills. Since he said it, I doubt it's wrong, grammatically. But, I wonder ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Indefinite article and people's names

Sometimes, on the internet, particularly in online games, I see people using the indefinite article before someone's name: "I see a Joey" or "I hug a Polly". I know some of these people and I'm ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Usage of English definite article when referring to generic word

My mother language does not have articles, so I still struggle to choose when to use the indefinte and definite article. The other day, I learned: "The dog is an animal" is acceptable. "The iron is ...
10
votes
2answers
235 views

Can predicative complements not be bare noun phrases in English? That is, are clauses such as “I am student” incorrect?

In Chapter 4 of the book A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar, written by Rodney Huddleston of the University of Queensland and Geoffrey K. Pullum of the University of Edinburgh and published ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Use of the definite article “the” before “church”

I was in a Teacher's selection for a school in my country, and one of the coordinators said that she heard a mistake from another teacher that was unacceptable. I tried to figure out why was that, but ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

Everyone Else's Lives

It would seem as though this is incorrect, since we each only have one life. Is my intuition correct that it should be everyone else's life and not everyone else's lives?
18
votes
1answer
3k views

What article do we use before a symbol? Is it “an @” or “a @”?

I got a question when reading this text: The name of the decorator should be prepended with an @ symbol. Should we write "a @ symbol" or "an @ symbol"? As "@" is in fact "at", I would think "an" ...
4
votes
2answers
332 views

Indefinite article before symbols

The choice of "a" versus "an" depends on the pronunciation of the following word. Mathematical writing may use symbols as nouns or adjectives, and their pronunciation is not always clear. Here is a ...
1
vote
2answers
145 views

Is “a” mandatory in “I'm a whole new (Name)”?

Let's say, your name is Kate and you say "I'm a whole new Kate!" Now, can you drop "a" and say "I'm whole new Kate!"? Or is it mandatory to keep it?
1
vote
4answers
3k views

“An RV” or “a RV”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? I am writing about Random Variables, which I am abbreviating to RV. Should I write 'an RV' (an Arr-Vee) ...
-1
votes
3answers
906 views

What article should be used in such sentences?

What article should be used in the following sentence? He was English by [a/the/] blood. I feel there should be a zero article here, but I was taught that the zero article is impossible in ...
4
votes
1answer
682 views

Origin of distinction between “one” and “a/an”?

So I was told that the English articles "a" and "an" have Germanic origins. In German, there is not a distinction between "one" and "a/an". Is there any explanation for the existence of these two ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

A tendency to use “a” in place of “an” in American English

I have noticed that a lot of native American speakers use the indefinite article "a" in front of words beginning with vowels, such as interesting, old, apple , etc. Is there any reasonable ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

“What a beautiful day” or “What the beautiful day”? And “why”?

Although we know that day which we are talking about, why don't we say "What the beautiful day!" instead of "What a beautiful day!" ? In addition, a friend of mine explained the following, but in my ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

“Had a seafood dinner” or “had seafood dinner”? [closed]

Which sentence is correct? I had a seafood dinner last night. I had seafood dinner last night.
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is it “an yearly”?

In the book The Wealth of Nations, (Adam Smith, 1776), the words an yearly are used. Why was this an exception to the indefinite article rules? Chapter VI, Book I: At the rate of ten per cent ...
10
votes
3answers
325 views

Why no determiner before either 'lunatic' or 'knight' in “He's more lunatic than he is knight”

In the Norton Critical Edition of Don Quijote, ably translated by Burton Raffel, there is a passage in which Sancho Panza is talking about the titular character and he says ...while I am thinking ...
8
votes
3answers
937 views

Is it correct to say “one out of *a* possible four”?

I am curious if it is correct to say "one out of a possible four". This is what I found in a publication: Discrete level (one out of a possible four), corresponding to a range of safety ...
7
votes
2answers
941 views

Definite or indefinite article in “the/a devil's advocate”

I can't quite figure out which of the following expressions is more correct: He is the devil's advocate. He is a devil's advocate. He is playing devil's advocate. The combination of an article ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

I love pictures on my phone - what does zero article imply?

Please, look at the sentence: "I love pictures on my phone" What can it mean? 1) I love all the pictures that are now on my phone with no exceptions? 2) I love most of the pictures that are now ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

“the average person” vs “an average person”

There's a question in a forum I frequent, and I'm trying to decide whether "the average" or "an average" is appropriate in its title. Let's say the question is: "Why is the average Canadian ...
6
votes
2answers
636 views

Why is “a” necessary before “Mr. X” and “Mrs. Y”?

There is the following sentence in the scene a reputed lawyer, Thomas Cohen gives advice to 16-year old client William Kane, the son of deceased bank owner on the issue of inheritance of his father’s ...
4
votes
0answers
549 views

Guide to English Articles [closed]

I'm looking for a full and complete guide to English articles like THE, A, AN, (none). Can anyone recommend me something like that? I'd like to finally learn this and never make a mistake again. ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

on the bus, in the car etc. vs. on a bus, in a car etc

I realize a lot of questions have been asked about buses here. While the thing with the preposition usage was resolved for me a long time ago, the usage of the articles is still confusing me. For ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Can I start a sentence with a singular noun with no article?

For example, which one of the following sentences can I use? Consumer of Product X needs to fill out a rebate form […]. Consumers of Product X need to […]. A consumer of Product X needs to ...
2
votes
2answers
459 views

Is it correct to have 'a' before a proper noun? [duplicate]

According to my knowledge, the indefinite article 'a' must never be used before a proper noun. But I recently heard the English sentence: "Every civilian should be a Mahatma Gandhi to his society". ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

The article “a/an” with uncountable nouns

Sometimes I read in books sentences where uncountable nouns are used with the article "a/an". For example She fades like a dew before the sun. Is it out of the common rules? Sorry if this ...
2
votes
0answers
677 views

How did the definite / indefinite articles develop? [closed]

Russian, I believe, has no definite or indefinite article. How did it develop in Latin languages, particularly English? Would English be much poorer without it?
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Articles: “a” or “the” with “second assumption”?

I wonder if I have to use a, or the when I introduce two assumptions in an academic paper. For example, in an introduction section of an article it tells us that there are two assumptions that the ...