1. We use the indefinite article, a/an, with count nouns when the hearer/reader does not know exactly which one we are referring to:

Police are searching for a 14 year-old girl.

2. We also use it to show the person or thing is one of a group:

She is a pupil at London Road School.

 

Police have been searching for a 14 year-old girl who has been missing since Friday.

Jenny Brown, a pupil at London Road School, is described as 1.6 metres tall with short blonde hair.

She was last seen wearing a blue jacket, a blue and white blouse and dark blue jeans and blue shoes. 

Anyone who has information should contact the local police on 0800349781.


3. We do not use an indefinite article with plural nouns and uncount nouns:

She was wearing blue shoes. (= plural noun)
She has short blonde hair. (= uncount noun)

 

Police have been searching for a 14 year-old girl who has been missing since Friday.

Jenny Brown, a pupil at London Road School, is described as 1.6 metres tall with short blonde hair.

She was last seen wearing a blue jacket, a blue and white blouse and dark blue jeans and blue shoes

Anyone who has information should contact the local police on 0800349781.

 


4. We use a/an to say what someone is or what job they do:

My brother is a doctor.
George is a student.

5. We use a/an with a singular noun to say something about all things of that kind:

A man needs friends. (= All men need friends)
A dog likes to eat meat. (= All dogs like to eat meat)

 Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello sir
Should we say ' an English soldier ' or ' a English soldier' ?

Hello amrita_enakshi,

'an' is the correct form here, since the word 'English' begins with a vowel sound.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Good day, I think I am confused between these rules :
"to say something about all the things referred to by a noun" - for definite article "The"
and
"5. We use a/an with a singular noun to say something about all things of that kind:"
for indefinite article "a and an "

Please clarify!

Thank you in advance.

That was quite helpful

Hello dear Kirk,
Thank you. Thank you sir.

Hello respected team,
Which one is true in the following sentence? Send him (in or at) the beginning of second class to the counselor. (in or at ) the beginning I told you to not touch the wire.
In the following sentence why we use (in)? I am taking a math course in school.
Thank you for the help.

Hello Hosseinpour,

In the first sentence, 'at' is correct since it mentions the beginning of something. I suppose 'at' is also correct in the second sentence, though I'm not sure what the context is so I can't say for sure. 'in the beginning' vs 'at the beginning' are explained on this page, with examples -- I'd suggest you take a look.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi!
The indefinite article point no: 3 She has short blonde hair. (= uncount noun)
Can it be as following She has short blonde hair(s) instead of hair?

Hello drsachin,

It's grammatically correct to use 'hairs' (i.e. the plural noun), but it implies that she has few of them. To speak of people's hair, the default is to use the uncount form -- the count form implies something quite unusual.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Pages