Use 1

The article A is used before singular, countable nouns which begin with consonant sounds.

Examples:

  • He is a teacher.
  • She doesn’t own a car.
  • I saw a bear at the zoo.

USE 2

The article AN is used before singular,  noucountablens which begin with vowel sounds.

Examples:

  • He is an actor.
  • She didn’t get an invitation.
  • I saw an eagle at the zoo.

USE 3

Remember that A(AN) means “one” or “a single”. You cannot use A(AN) with plural nouns.

Examples:

  • I saw a bears in Gualaquiza  National Park. Not Correct
  • I saw bears in Yellowstone National Park. Correct

USE 4

If there is an adjective or an adverb-adjective combination before the noun, A(AN) should agree with the first sound in the adjective or the adverb-adjective combination.

Examples:

  • He is an excellent teacher.
  • I saw a really beautiful eagle at the zoo.

USE 5

Use A before words such as “European” or “university” which sound like they start with a consonant even if the first letter is a vowel. Also use Abefore letters and numbers which sound like they begin with a consonant, such as “U”, “J”, “1” or “9”. Remember, it is the sound not the spelling which is important. For example, “1” is spelled O-N-E; however, it is pronounced “won” like it starts with a “W”.

Examples:

  • She has a euro. Sounds like “yu-ro”.
  • That number is a “1”. Sounds like “won”.

USE 6

Use AN before words such as “hour” which sound like they start with a vowel even if the first letter is a consonant. Also use AN before letters and numbers which sound like they begin with a vowel, such as “F” or “8”. Remember, it is the sound not the spelling which is important. For example, “F” is pronounced “eff” like it starts with an “E”.

Examples:

  • I only have an hour for lunch. Sounds like “au-er”.
  • Does his name begin with an “F”? Sounds like “eff”.

USE 7

Some words such as “herb” or “hospital” are more complicated because they are pronounced differently in different English accents. In most American accents, the “h” in “herb” is silent, so Americans usually say “an herb”. In many British accents, the “h” in “herb” is pronounced, so many British say “a herb”. In some British accents, the “h” in hospital is silent, so some British will say “an hospital” instead of “a hospital”.

USE 8

In English, some nouns are considered uncountable such as: information, air, advice, salt and fun. We do not use A(AN) with these uncountable nouns. (Learn more about countable and uncountable nouns.)

Examples:

  • She gives a good advice. Not Correct
  • She gives good advice. Correct

Articles Exercise

Choose A, AN or (/) for “no article” for each blank below, then click the “Check” button to check your answers.

1.- —– bed                                          11.——very sad story

2.——- chair                                        12.——-web site

3.——- egg                                          13.——-Internet conference

4.——- fish                                           14——- extremely large dog

5.——- answer                                     15——– light meal

6.——- song                                         16—— — fantastic answer

7.——- vacation                                    17—— — unusually small head

8.——  investigation                               18——– funny joke

9.—— computers                                   19—— — expensive purse

10.—– old letter                                      20 ——— expensive purse

ANSWERS

1.- a   2.- a  3.- an  4.- a  5.- an  6.- a  7.- a  8.- an  9.- (/) 10.- an

11.- a  12.- a  13.- an  14.- an  15.- a  16.- a  17.- an 18.- a  19.- an  20.- (/)

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