1

I know this question is quite basic but right now I'm having a problem with it:

"Jimmy your english is bad. Try to speak in front of mirror or an even better option is to take english classes."

Is it grammatical to use "an" here?

2

Is it grammatical to use 'an' here?

Yes it is; in fact, it is necessary if you say even better option, but it's the noun option that makes the indefinite article an required.

If you were to instead say, Try to speak in front of a mirror or, even better, take English classes, you would not need an. (in fact that would be incorrect).

  • 1
    Note that mirror also requires an article. – Bradd Szonye Oct 1 '13 at 21:54
  • Indeed it does. I copied and pasted the sentence; I hadn't noticed that. I will correct it. – Giambattista Oct 1 '13 at 22:32
0

"Try to speak in front of mirror, or an even better option is to take English classes." is fine.

However, there is an idiom using just the bare phrase "even better" which would not require using "a"/"an": "Try to speak in front of a mirror or, even better, take English classes."

  • It's not quite fine, because “speak in front of mirror” is missing an article. – Bradd Szonye Oct 1 '13 at 22:34
  • It's funny how easy it is to miss an error like that! The best way I've found to spot them anyway is to read the text you're proofreading aloud. (Unfortunately, I don't remember to do this often enough, and I often miss my own errors...) – snailcar Oct 2 '13 at 2:03
  • Yes, "a mirror". I was focusing too much on the "an" in question. – horatio Oct 2 '13 at 14:14
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English generally requires an article before a singular noun to express whether it is definite or indefinite. Therefore, both mirror and option require articles in your example sentence:

Try to speak in front of a mirror, or an even better option is to take English classes.

Modifiers like even better don't change whether you need an article. However, because they come between the article and the noun, they do determine whether you should use a or an, depending on whether the modifier starts with a consonant or vowel sound:

an option
a better option
an even better option

Note that English does not use indefinite articles before plural nouns like options, mass nouns like water, or some proper nouns. For example:

Even better options are to take English classes or practice with native speakers.

Also, you only use articles with nouns. If you change the sentence so that even better modifies the whole main clause (instead of option), you no longer need an article:

Even better, take English classes.

  • Downvoter: Any suggestion for improvement here? – Bradd Szonye Oct 2 '13 at 0:42

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