You can create a web site or an application with your bare hands.


You can create a web site or application with your bare hands.


Also, same for the definite article?

  • My gut feeling is the first version is better, though the second may also be correct. And the reason for that is you can have a noun in plural form with a noun in singular form together like this: You can take an apple or two pears. or You can take an apple or pears.
    – Arsen Y.M.
    Oct 1, 2014 at 23:55
  • 2
    Conjunction Reduction will normally delete repeated material in precisely parallel phrases. Each word normally is deletable -- or not -- independently. Thus repeated articles (a/an or the), quantifiers (lots of or most), adjectives, or any other repeated element can be deleted. Oct 2, 2014 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


The first is correct in this context because one noun starts with a vowel but the other does not. You can only "merge" the two articles when the same article would be used with both nouns. For example:

create a website or blog

This works because you can write

create a website or create a blog

and it would be wordy but correct. However,

You can create a web site or application with your bare hands.

is wrong because

You can create a web site or you can create a application with your bare hands

is wrong because you must use an with application.

  • What is your source for this? I'm a middle-aged native speaker and have never heard of such a rule.
    – equin0x80
    Aug 23, 2021 at 16:59
  • @equin0x80 this is a rephrasing of johnlawlers comment on OPs post. "Conjunction reduction" only works when the articles are the same; but here, it would be a and an, not "a a" or "an an". its becuase web does not start with a vowel, but application does, so they need different articles.
    – Tommy
    Aug 23, 2021 at 17:53
  • I understand the logic, but I don't believe this is a real rule used in the English language. For example, I'd like to see this rule explained in Fowler's "Modern English Usage", or any real book, not just Internet people.
    – equin0x80
    Aug 25, 2021 at 0:27

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