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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What would be the proper article? [migrated]

Spring is the best season of ____ year. a or the ? Year is not definite. It can be any year. Shouldnt it be " season of a year."?
Manoharsinh Rana's user avatar
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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 ...
Kelly's user avatar
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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? ...
DYZ's user avatar
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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.
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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 ...
Damocle Damoclev's user avatar
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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”...
Tiziano De Masi's user avatar
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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.
curiouswalnut's user avatar
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"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 ...
bakunin's user avatar
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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.&...
licheng's user avatar
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Indefinite article "a" in an exclamation, in plural case; is it acceptable? [closed]

I am curious. There is a common exclamation "what a liar!". But how should it be in plural case? What liars!? What a liars!? The former looks a bit confusing because it sounds like a ...
Asdf's user avatar
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*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 ...
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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 ...
Alexis Wilke's user avatar
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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 ...
macc's user avatar
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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 ...
Mr. Past Progressive's user avatar
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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" ...
yoppuyoppu's user avatar
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(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 ...
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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 ...
Loviii's user avatar
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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 ...
ultimate's user avatar
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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 ...
AlexParson's user avatar
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"'A' HSBC branch" or "'An' HSBC branch"? [duplicate]

The general rule says 'a' should be used if the 'h' makes a sound, e.g., "a horse" vs "an hourglass", or (somewhat debated) the first syllable is not stressed, e.g., "an hotel&...
Cristian Diaconescu's user avatar
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a frantic 24 hours [duplicate]

"It follows a frantic 24 hours of talks between ambassadors, officials and foreign ministers." Why is the indefinite article used before the word frantic when 24 hours are undoubtedly plural?...
Jakub Málek's user avatar
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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 ...
bobby's user avatar
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Improper usage of "it"? [closed]

On a language exchange app, a non-English speaker wrote the following: Whenever I go to a cafe, I order a soda float. I love it because it's tasty. This sounds very wrong to me, but the person I'm ...
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Why the indefinite article is used with a proper name?

Reading Dune by Frank Herbert, I came across a sentence – That drunken fool of an Idaho! I know that this type of expression is usually used to render rebuke, scorn, contempt and what not. But I am ...
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5 votes
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When and why did "a" become a synonym for "per"?

In modern day lingo, we often read and hear phrases like "50 cycles a second" or "60 words a minute" or "30 kilometers an hour". When did English first start using "...
guninvalid's user avatar
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Why is it "an FFP2 mask"? [duplicate]

The indefinite article "a" is changed to "an" if the following word starts with a vowel or and silent "h". Now I read "an FFP2 mask" everywhere. Is this correct,...
holyschmoly's user avatar
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Why do we put the in this example?

Nearly $300 billion in foreign aid was spent by the U.S. Government between the years 2013 and 2018 (source: Forbes) I seriously don't know why we put "the years" in the sentence. More ...
Ray's user avatar
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Can the noun eyewitness be used properly without a preceding article?

Today I was writing an email calling somebody "eyewitness to" some event, but it was marked as incorrect and it was suggested I precede it with an article; i.e. an eyewitness, instead. But ...
Dexygen's user avatar
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Difference between make 'an' effort and make 'the' effort [closed]

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 ...
tofuthefirst's user avatar
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Will "a" or "the" be presumed in this scenario? [closed]

Suppose a native English-speaking witness in court is testifying about what she saw. The story, as previously narrated by the witness in her written statement, starts with a certain identified/named ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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1 answer
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"An X of an Y" or "The X of an Y"?

Important: All of the examples below are assumed to be used when we say something like "a cat" and not "the cat". That is, for example, when we are introducing something for the ...
user90726's user avatar
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an atom vs the atom [duplicate]

In Britannica's Atom term, some general sentences about an atom use "an atom", and others "the atom", why? Sentences with "an atom": The behaviour of an atom is strongly ...
Ben's user avatar
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A or AN before a dollar amount preceded by dollar symbol $ [duplicate]

I have found related questions but my doubt remains and is best explained with an example. Consider the following sentence in a Finance academic article, where it is common to use the dollar symbol ...
debrah's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is it grammatically correct to say that someone is "the son of Satan"?

I read a news report today which is titled "Chinese State Media Slams Soros As 'The Most Evil Person In The World' And 'The Son Of Satan'". My question is not about politics but English ...
John Z. Li's user avatar
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1 answer
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The "-ing" form of a verb and indefinite article [closed]

If celebrities visit public places, such as malls and bars, people will crowd them demanding for a picture or autograph. 1: Why did the writer use the "-ing" form of the verb "demand&...
olivia's user avatar
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Complete the article. Use a, the or no article (-) [duplicate]

Would you like to explain the answer no.11? I think No.11 need filling with "the" article, because it is the typical music. But the key is no article. I am confused (s)............ name of ...
anh trần's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

"In a first step" versus "In the first step"

In German we would often use the phrase "In einem ersten Schritt" which literally translates to "In a first step[, we did this or that..]". It is often used when the order of steps ...
monade's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
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Using the indefinite article before "rain"

I have recently learned the use of the indefinite article before uncountable nouns to talk about an unspecific instance. Can I use "a heavy rain" in the following sentence to communicate ...
Ayden Ferguson's user avatar
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Using definite article with "total"

Should I use definite article before "total"? Prior context: rehabilitation, describing patients' used physical therapy hours Sentence in the middle of this work: In contrast, total ...
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Why is the indefinite article used here? A novel called “Norwegian Forest”

According to a textbook I read, we use "the" in front of nouns that indicate unique existences, e.g sun, Eiffel tower. However, today I came across this sentence: "I would like to ...
Kumiko Oumae's user avatar
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Under what circumstances may the noun 'ambush' not be preceded by any article?

In particular, I wish to know if they were attacked from ambush and they were attacked from an ambush are equally in fashion. The articled form is is definitely more familiar, but look at the first ...
Cosmopolitan's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why was "a world" used in this sentence of Melville?

I cannot make much sense of a world in the following passage from Moby-Dick: There’s your law of precedents; there’s your utility of traditions; there’s the story of your obstinate survival of old ...
John Smith's user avatar
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1 answer
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Using the definite article for generalizations

I'm wondering about the usage of the definite article in cases where the thing being referred to is an abstraction or generalization of some kind. I'm aware of the most important rules for using the ...
Igor Ševo's user avatar
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Usage of Indefinite Article "a"

I am wondering whether the article "a" is correctly used in this sentence. The context is the following: Line 1: mystringexample = "Hello, world" How to read line 1: it has a left ...
G.T.'s user avatar
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Which article a/the should be used in API documentation?

For example: some_field - an/the description of smth In what cases articles should be/should not be used?
indigo's user avatar
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Using the indefinite article or zero article with "20/20 vision" when referring to sight measurements

While looking at the search results for "a 20/20 vision" in a question on ELL asking whether there should be an article before 20/20 vision, I noticed that many of the results that were the ...
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