articles: a/an

  • A noun like house, engineer, girl, name refers to a whole class of people or things.
    We use a/an with a noun to talk about just one member of that class.
    (A/an means ‘one’.)
      She lives in a nice big house.
      My father is an engineer. (NOT My father is engineer.)
      A girl phoned this morning.
      Tanaka is a Japanese name.
  • We use a/an when we define or describe people or things (when we say what class or kind they belong to).
      He’s a doctor. She s a beautiful woman.
      ‘What’s that?’ ‘It’s a calculator. ‘
  • We do not use a/an with a plural or uncountable noun (see 92), because a/an means ‘one’.
      My parents are doctors (NOT . . . a doctors.)
      Would you like some salt?(NOT . . . a salt.)

    We do not use a/an with an adjective alone (without a noun). Compare:

      She’s a very good engineer.
      She’s a very good.(NOT She’s a very good.)

    We do not use a/an together with another determiner (for example my,your).

      He s a friend of mine. (NOT He’s a my friend.)
  • Note that we write another in one word.
      Would you like another drink? (NOT . . . an other drink?)