ArticlesConfusingDeterminers

A or AN?

The indefinite article A

A and AN are determiners.


  • A is used with a singular countable noun or adjective.
    • A computer. A brown dog. A zebra. A lovely house. A book. A cold swimming pool. A television.
  • A is used with a singular countable noun or adjective that begins with a consonant.
    • A smartphone. A movie. A video. A funny movie. A new smart phone.
  • A is used with a singular countable noun or adjective that begins with a consonant sound.
    • A university. (YOU sound) A one-time offer. (WON sound) A yellow banana. (YELL sound)
  • A is used with a singular countable noun or adjective that begins with the letter H, if the sound is pronounced.
    • A habit. A horrible winter.

The indefinite article AN

  • An is used with a singular countable noun or adjective.
    • An orange. An unbelievable opportunity. An umbrella. An echo. An infant. An interesting opportunity.
  • An is used with a singular countable noun or adjective that begins with a vowel.
    • An invitation. An open window. An unfortunate accident. An amazing film.
  • An is used with a singular countable noun or adjective that begins with the letter H, if the sound is not pronounced. (A silent H)
    • An hour. (OUR sound) An honorable person. (ON sound)

A and AN before AN adjective

When an adjective is used to describe a singular countable noun, the article A or AN comes before the adjective. A LOUD noise.

  • A funny book. A is placed before the consonant F. Funny is an adjective. Book is a singular countable noun.
  • An interesting movie. AN is placed before the vowel I. Interesting is a present participle used as an adjective. Movie is a singular countable noun.
  • An hourly rate. AN is placed before the silent H. Hourly is an adjective. Rate is a singular countable noun.
  • An unusual experience. AN is placed before the vowel U. Unusual is an adjective. Experience is a singular countable noun.

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