Learn English Grammar: Lesson 11 – Articles A and An

Learn English Grammar: Lesson 11 – Articles a and an

The articles a and an are used only before singular count nouns. Specifically, use a and an with singular count nouns that are not specific and are being mentioned for the first time.

  • A dictionary has thousands of words and their meanings.
  • A cat has whiskers.
  • An umbrella is necessary when it rains hard.

Use a before a word (noun, or adjective + noun) that begins with a consonant sound.

  • a dictionary
  • a big dictionary

Use an before a word (noun, or adjective + noun) that begins with a vowel sound.

  • an orange
  • an expensive orange

Remember that words beginning with the letters h or u can be tricky. Some of these words use a and some use an—depending on the beginning sound of the word.

  • a bouse
  • an hour

House begins with the consonant sound / h /, but hour begins with a vowel sound. (The letter h is silent in the word hour.)

  • a university
  • an uncle

University begins with the consonant sound / y /, but uncle begins with a vowel sound.

Learn English Grammar: Lesson 12 – Noncount Nouns