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

are this sentence correct ?

i drinks cup of coffee every day

Hello Abdulrahman,

This sentence should be 'I drink a cup of coffee every day'. Some kind of article is needed before singular count nouns (like 'cup') and the present simple doesn't end in 's' for the first person ('I'). Keep trying!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

It seems the correct answer for 1) is "All things of that kind" but this is referred to "a woman"; sounds weird.

Hello Fabman65,

The descriptions here refer not to one particular example but to the use of the article in general. 'Things' is the most general word and so it is used. If we used 'people' then the description would apply only to sentences about people.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

typo, I missed it in I don't get it

Hello The LearnEnglish Team,
Thanks a lot for your work. Your comments are a great help to those learning English. I've had to some extent a challenging task recently, though. I was supposed to make up as many sentences as I could using the prompts. They are as follows:
is/next to/a/stapler/red/the/book.
I've made up the following ones:
1. A red stapler is next to the book.
2. A stapler is next to the red book.
3. The red stapler is next to a book.
4. The stapler is next to a red book.
Could tell me whether the four sentences above are correct so far?
Thanks a lot for your reply.

Hello Yuriy UA,

Yes, those are all correct – good work!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello and thanks for being such a great help :)

I would like to ask why I should omit the article "a" here "I've grown into a position where I can't.." ,yet "It's a position where you can..." correct.

I feel disappointed that I still can't work it out.

Hello Hibatu,

I'm afraid I'm a little confused. as both of the sentences in your comment sound correct to me. Where are they from?

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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