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

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61
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10answers
16k 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 ...
106
votes
7answers
40k 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," ...
31
votes
5answers
9k 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: ...
56
votes
11answers
23k 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 ...
61
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
3k 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?
0
votes
0answers
653 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
748 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
946 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k 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, ...
35
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
20k views

“As part of” versus “as a part of”

When should I use "as part of", and when "as a part of"?
7
votes
1answer
3k 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
373 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
639 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
176 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
667 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
37k views

Which is correct — “a year” or “an year”?

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?
4
votes
1answer
2k 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?
17
votes
1answer
2k views

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

I got a doubt 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" ...
3
votes
3answers
710 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
116 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
2k 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
525 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
111 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.
8
votes
3answers
637 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
1answer
234 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
653 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
2answers
212 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
411 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
2answers
202 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
316 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
2answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
451 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
518 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
21k views

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

Does one need to use the article in this case?
1
vote
4answers
311 views

Is it “comedy” or “a comedy”?

For example in this sentence, do we need an article before comedy? Improv is essentially [a] comedy.
0
votes
1answer
56 views

How to use articles with scientific words, such as mass, force, impulse, field and others?

How are articles used with scientific quantities, such as mass, force, impulse, field and others?
0
votes
1answer
74 views

'In the event of fire' or 'in the event of a fire'?

In the event of fire,... In the event of a fire,... I see both variants ondifferent Web pages and I cannot understand which is correct. Could you please explain it to me.
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Indefinite article for words starting with “E” An/A Ensemble [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? which article should be used with the words which start with the letter "E" such as "Ensemble" ?
0
votes
2answers
1k views

When to use inverted word-order like “great an option”? [closed]

I heard this in a movie yesterday: That is great an option! Why didn't he say: That is a great option! How does grammar desribe such inverted phrases? Where should I use this inverted ...
0
votes
0answers
75 views

Should I use `a SSTP` or `an SSTP`? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? First of all let me clarify that SSTP is an abbreviation of a technical term. I want to know, when using ...
0
votes
2answers
131 views

“A first post” — makes sense or not?

I once knew a person who titled the first post in his blog, "A first post." It was immediately pointed out to him that correct usage is "The first post." To that he responded: Well, every blog has ...