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The Indefinite Articles: A/An

In English, we have two indefinite articles: A and An. Knowing which one to choose can sometimes be tricky, so here is an explanation of the main rule.
Letters forming the word: Article
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Main rule:

A and An are used in front of singular nouns.

An is used in front of a vowel sound: I want you to write an essay.

A is used in front of a consonant sound: I need a new computer.

Remember it is the pronunciation (Norw. uttale), rather than the spelling that matters:

You should be finished in an hour.

She wants to go to a university near home.

More advanced information

The indefinite article is used:

  1. in front of countable nouns: I had a strange feeling. It was a great experience. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  2. in front of names of professions, nationality groups and religious groups: She is a dentist. He is a Muslim. His brother is an American (Norw. amerikaner). He is American (Norw. amerikansk).
  3. in a number of expressions of speed, frequency, amount and price and in many fixed phrases: seventy miles an hour, three times a week, once a year, £50 a night, to have a headache, to make a speech, to have a temperature, to catch a cold, to take an interest in, to give it a try, to build a house

The indefinite article is not used in front of uncountable (‘utellelige’) nouns: What terrible weather! Did he give you any advice? It was shocking news!

Now try the following tasks:

Task 1

Task 2

Translate the following sentences!

This task is more difficult than the first, but try your best to translate these eight sentences. When you are finished, press "Key" to see the answers.

CC BY-SAWritten by: Sonja Nygaard-Joki and Per Lysvåg. Rightsholder: NKI
Last revised date 08/15/2019

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