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

I saw two example sentences in (the? an?) Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
'The name Chanel became 'a' byword for elegance.'
'She became queen in 1592'
There are an article in the first sentence but there are no article in the second sentence.
Why in the second sentence does not any article exist?

I am already crazy!!!

 English grammar drives me crazy! I'm always confusing....  :p

Any way , this is very helpful , thanks British Council!

 Thanks.It is so useful.
 

hi!
i am so happy that i have discovered such site like yours. thanks a lot for your methods of teaching and  the way you present the grammar material.
i have a question for you. why did not you enlarge the material concerning the theme "indefinite articles a, an "?

Hi Gysya,
What extra material do you want? Are you looking for more explanations or more practice activities?
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

I really like your lessons,but i have to ask you , why in the last senstence of the 1st framework there is no article "a" ?is it tsimiliar with the last sentence of the 2nd?
thank you!

Hi Samir,
When you say 'the 1st framework', do you mean the first box with four example sentences in? And are you asking why there is no article 'a' before 'information' or before 'police'?
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

I enjoy this site :)

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