Articles a & an | Grade 1 English Learning Concepts | Orchids International
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Articles

Concept: Thinking about 'a' & 'an'!

Definition:

  • Articles are words used before nouns
  • They tell us more about the nouns, whether the noun is specific or general or it is singular or plural.
  • There are three articles. They are ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’.
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In today’s lesson, we will talk about only the first two articles; ‘a’, ‘an’.

These two articles ‘a’ and ‘an’ both mean the same but their usage in a sentence is a little different. Let’s see when we use ‘a’ and ‘an’.

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Use of ‘a’:

  • We use the article ‘a’ before the noun that indicates a single and non-specific or general person, place, animal, or thing.
  • It is used before a nonspecific and singular noun that begins with a consonant sound.

Examples:

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In the above examples, we used the article ‘a’ before all the nouns. Because the article ‘a’ here shows nonspecific and singular nouns, and they are ‘lion’, ‘clown’, ‘guitar’, and ‘beach’.

Use of ‘an’:

  • The article ‘an’ is also used to show a single and non-specific or general person, place, animal, or thing.
  • It is used before a nonspecific and singular noun that begins with a vowel sound.

Examples:

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The article ‘an’ is used in the above four examples to denote nouns that begin with vowel sounds, i.e., ‘alligator’, ‘uncle’, ‘oven’, and ‘office’.

Since ‘a’ and ‘an’ always refer to non-specific or general objects, we can also gcall them indefinite articles.

Since 'a' and 'an' always refer to non-specific or general objects , we can also call them indefinite articles.

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Common Mistakes:

1. We don’t always use the articles ‘an’ before allthe five vowels. Sometimes the letters don’t make vowel sounds like the letter ‘u’. In such cases, we don’t use ‘an’.

Example:

A unicorn.

An unicorn.

The first letter of the word ‘unicorn’ is the letter ‘u’. Here the letter ‘u’ isn’t making a vowel sound. Therefore, we used article ‘a’.

2. Don’t use the article ‘a’, if the consonant is silent. In this case, the word starts with a vowel sound. Then the noun will be followed by the article ‘an’.

Example:

An hour.

A hour.

The word ‘hour’ starts with the letter ‘h’. Though ‘h’ is a consonant, it is followed by the article ‘an’. Because the sound of ‘h’ is silent here and we pronounced the word as ‘our’. Therefore, we used 'an’ before ‘hour’.

3. Don’t use articles ‘a’ and ‘an’ to denote plural nouns.

Example:

A cats

An eggs

A cat

An egg

4. Don’t use articles after a noun. They are always placed before a noun.

Example:

A cat is sitting under a tree.

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