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Questions tagged [indefinite-articles]

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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-1 votes
0 answers
34 views

a apartment or an apartment [closed]

On airbnb I saw "a apartment" in there description. It should have been generated by the system. Is it a mistake or am I missing anything?
7 votes
2 answers
884 views

"at/to the Beach" but "at/to a restaurant"?

When I want to go out to eat, I say: "let's go to a restaurant," but when I want to go play on the sand I say: "let's go to the beach." Why is that true? In both cases I'm talking about ...
5 votes
2 answers
11k views

How do you pronounce "a"?

I've heard this sentence "If you kiss a frog, it turns into a prince." The British announcer read this sentence like this: If you kiss [ ɛɪ ] frog, it turns into [ ə ] prince Is there any ...
2 votes
0 answers
59 views

"a shirt in (a) (size) small"

To me, these versions sound natural and idiomatic: I'd like this/a shirt in a small. I'd like this/a shirt in a size small. I'd like this/a shirt in a size 7. Do you have this dress in a 9? She wears ...
0 votes
0 answers
10 views

Definite or Indefinite Article [migrated]

I am writing to an exchange student, who is my partner in this exchange program. I am writing for the first time – but he already knows he has an exchange partner. Which of the following would it be ...
1 vote
1 answer
619 views

Difference between make 'an' effort and make 'the' effort

Consider the following sentence. Yet I still enjoy making ____ (an/the) effort to bake at home from time to time. Here, what is the difference between an and the? Is effort here a specific or common ...
2 votes
2 answers
191 views

Articles with Spatial Prepositions

Are both sentences correct? with and without the indefinite article (a): She lives two minutes' walk from the station She lives a two minutes' walk from the station
0 votes
0 answers
52 views

Which indefinite article should be used before a period followed by a vowel: "a(n) .ir domain"?

I am writing an email and I just realized I am a bit baffled. I do not think there is a proper convention to this, unless there is and I have not heard of it. This is in regards to registering ...
1 vote
6 answers
557 views

A man of many talents/ the man of many talents

Can I use the article the with the idiom “man of many talents” if I want to emphasise that it refers to just a specific person and not speaking generally? For instance: “You’re the man of many talents”...
0 votes
1 answer
106 views

(In)definite articles with abstract concepts

I am always struggling to figure out whether to use a definite or indefinite article with abstract concepts. See the following example. Positions in question are marked with (the?): Section X ...
0 votes
0 answers
15 views

Simple Article usage question implied or not? [duplicate]

It doesn't matter if you are a nurse or a doctor, you still need a pass. In this sentence, can I skip article a just before doctor? It doesn't matter if you are a nurse or doctor, you still need a ...
-2 votes
1 answer
68 views

Indefinite article before an underscore [duplicate]

I have some words in my [technical] text that begin with an underscore. Should I use "a" or "an" in front of them? For example, should it be a _TextIOWrapper or an _TextIOWrapper? ...
0 votes
1 answer
105 views

What's the difference between "I believe in God" and "I believe in a God"?

I've recently heard these two examples where I don't understand what "a" is supposed to emphasize: Somebody asks: "Do you believe in God?" Then gets this reply: "I believe in ...
6 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
630 views

Is it appropriate to capitalise "a" in the title? [duplicate]

Is it appropriate to capitalise the "a" in the title of an article, journal, thesis and so on? I have seen both cases where "a" is capitlised and uncapitlised. I am using British English if this ...
0 votes
2 answers
59 views

Do I need an indefinite article, talking about exposition in literature? [closed]

For example: It's only (an) exposition, but I already love the story.
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

When should I NOT use an article in front of a noun? Easy to remember tips? [duplicate]

THE title says all. Although I've been living in the US for many years at this point, this still confuses me time to time.
262 votes
10 answers
255k views

Do you use "a" or "an" before acronyms / initialisms?

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," ...
0 votes
0 answers
19 views

"A" and "an" with interjections [duplicate]

Basically I know how "a" and "an" are used: a member an adult member but how is the same handled when the middle word is inserted parenthetically or even in brackets: I met a ...
1 vote
2 answers
497 views

"As good a deal as you'll ever get"

I've identified a part of English speech where I always become stuck. Some examples will illustrate: "He's as great a man as you will ever find." // Fine "It's as good an option as you could ...
0 votes
3 answers
534 views

comparative adjective + a + noun

a) When can I use "comparative adjective + a + noun" and when not? When can I add "a + noun" after "comparative adjective" and when not? b) What is the difference between ...
1 vote
3 answers
180 views

Indefinite article: “a” vs “an” preceding numbers with multiple pronunciations [closed]

Is either of the following usages correct or incorrect (in writing)? "An 1100 seat stadium" "A 1100 seat stadium" 1100 is commonly "read"/pronounced as both "...
1 vote
0 answers
54 views

A confusion caused by a grammar checker regarding "a" or "an" [duplicate]

I wrote it this way in my manuscript: We construct a 25-order planar graph with minimum degree 4. My grammar checker (languagetool.jar) is reminding me to use "an" instead of "a.&...
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is ‘such an one’ obsolete?

One begins with a vowel and should therefore have an and not a in front of it. Why is it, then, that ‘such a one’ is what is actually said? It appears to have been the case when the King James Bible ...
1 vote
7 answers
317 views

What is 'there is a God' supposed to mean?

There's no denying that the phrase there is a God is in use, as shown in these examples. The New York Times, 2020: When the nefarious Cardinal Richelieu died in 1642, Pope Urban VIII is said to have ...
2 votes
3 answers
6k views

Omitting articles in nouns - prepositions; after; to; before; from

Why is the indefinite article omitted here? Could it be the definite article, but omitted? Like in the following case in an instruction: Grasp drumstick. Place knife between thigh and body; cut ...
3 votes
1 answer
5k views

Could it be that 'an another' is acceptable usage?

It is well known that, as CGEL puts it (p. 391), Determinative another derives historically from the compounding of the indefinite article and the adjective other; the consequence of this for the ...
1 vote
2 answers
72 views

Good, bad, ugly? - "with professional efficiency" vs "with a professional efficiency" [duplicate]

Is either wrong? What's your take on the difference? I'm writing my first story and have an editor who has been great. I'm going through their edits and changing my draft as per their suggestions. One ...
124 votes
14 answers
280k 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 ...
8 votes
3 answers
629 views

Unorthodox article placement

In my English class yesterday we looked at the following example: Monica is such a beautiful woman. We learned that the above sentence could also be written as: Monica is so beautiful a woman ...
0 votes
0 answers
62 views

*an unitary operator* or *a unitary operator* [duplicate]

The rule that I usually use in such cases is that *an* precedes a vowel sound, while *a* is used before a consonant sound. I understand sound as different from letter - conventionally u would be ...
2 votes
2 answers
204 views

A XHTML document or An XHTML document [duplicate]

When writing this sentence: So it's possible to do an XHTML quine, but not a HTML quine I noticed that I used an for XHTML but not for HTML. In the discussion on this thread, I've picked up on a ...
0 votes
2 answers
140 views

A or an hexadecimal number? [duplicate]

From what I know, in English, the rule is that before a word starting with h, we use the article "a". So I would imagine that the correct way is: "a hexadecimal number" Searching ...
0 votes
2 answers
706 views

What is the grammatical basis for using "a" before a present participle (-ing)? [duplicate]

Example: When I called, he came a running. My first inclination was that it's an article and the participle is being used as a gerund, but that doesn't make sense structurally. My second is I ...
5 votes
4 answers
922 views

Indefinite article before noun starting with "the"

How should I write if I want to buy a DVD of the movie "The Exorcist". I want to buy a The Exorcist DVD. I want to buy a "The Exorcist" DVD. So what to do when there should be ...
4 votes
1 answer
119 views

Context Defined Nouns (the use of the definite article)

I've been doing a research on articles, trying to create a set of reliable rules for my students and I've completed the major part of it, however, there still remain some inconsistencies with bare ...
0 votes
0 answers
16 views

Which indefinite article are we supposed to use before a known abbreviated noun starting with "H"? [duplicate]

I'm asking this because I couldn't find any answer on whether I should use "a" or "an" before an abbreviated word starting with "H" like "H.B.H", People seem to ...
1 vote
1 answer
41 views

Choose between a and the article in a question without context [closed]

Why we say How to cross the road? meanwhile, we also say How to read a book? As far as I know, we use "the" when there's some context. For example, I have a car, and I want to paint it, ...
1 vote
2 answers
39 views

Using singular language to discuss generality [duplicate]

I am somewhat confused by the use of singular langauge to discuss generally true statements, for example: A cat is smarter than a dog. The intention of this statement is to say that in general any ...
2 votes
1 answer
705 views

Should 'one' be considered an article?

There is but one king, and I am one. Here, the 'one' at the end of the sentence stands for 'one king' and 'one' is not specifying (in this particular place) a numeral. It is implying 'I am that one' ...
0 votes
0 answers
83 views

For Nth time or for a/an Nth time

In an English language class at school, I was taught to always use "the" not "a/an" when I want to use an ordinal number, for example, "for the second time in a row" ...
4 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why the indefinite article in "have a good time"?

Why do we use the indefinite article in the expression "have a good time"? Time is an uncountable noun, and we never say "what a beautiful weather!", but "what beautiful weather it is!" Could ...
11 votes
2 answers
2k 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 if ...
1 vote
5 answers
74k views

“I would like to express a big congratulations...” Why ‘a’ before the plural form?

At school I was taught that before the plural form we don't use the articles a and an. So why do people use a before big congratulations? Examples: A Big Congratulations to Dr. Wei Cheng on His ...
15 votes
3 answers
6k views

When is it correct to use "scissors" as a singular noun?

In the Oxford dictionary website, the following example for scissors is given: A small suture scissors was used to "fish" for the deeply embedded hair. However I find weird that it treats ...
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

a LAN vs an LAN [duplicate]

LAN is the abbreviation for local area network. According to dictionaries, it has two variants of the pronunciation: [læn] and [ˌeleɪˈen]. Does it mean we can write both "a LAN" and "an ...
0 votes
0 answers
39 views

lacquer finish/a lacquer finish/the lacquer finish [article usage]

I've just read an article about lacquer finish (or should I say a lacquer finish here?), and the use of articles is a bit confusing. The headline uses the indefinite one, which is kind of clear ...
1 vote
0 answers
26 views

Is it "a SW" or "an SW"? [duplicate]

First of all: I am aware of the rule for "a" vs. "an" be it a noun or an abbreviation following (see When should I use "a" vs "an"?). So following this rule the ...
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is there an indefinite article before "London"? [duplicate]

Two years after his reported Reichenbach Fall demise, Sherlock, who has been cleared of all fraud charges against him, returns with Mycroft's help to a London under threat of terrorist attack. I know,...
2 votes
2 answers
767 views

Nary an X or/nor a Y

It is a well-known rule of English grammar that either takes or and neither takes nor. Nary comes from the phrase "ne'er a" and is considered a non-standard variant of not, e.g.: Nary a ...

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