- Commonly Confused Words: A, An, & And
- Definite Article
- Notes on the Definite Article
- Zero Article
Examples and Observations:
- "Though an old man I am but a young gardener."
- "There's a badger with a gun."
(Eddie Izzard, Definite Article, 1996)
- "Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory."
- "When a bird gets sucked into an engine they call it 'bird strike.' It's not bird strike, it's 'engine suck'!"
(Eddie Izzard, Glorious, 1997)
- My dad is an L.A. Lakers supporter, but I'm a Utah Jazz fan.
- "It's never just a game when you're winning."
- "A's rightful literary place is in narrative. In the opening line of a novel, a story, or a fairy tale, as we begin to be told what happened once upon a time, the natural progression is to be introduced to a person and situation, and then gradually be filled in on their particularity. And so Hardy commences Tess of the D'Urbervilles: 'On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward.'"
(Ben Yagoda, When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It, Broadway Books, 2007)
- "Count nouns denote people and things which are treated as units. They refer to objects, people, abstract entities, etc. which are perceived as easily counted. Count nouns have both a singular and a plural form. The indefinite article a/an can be used with count nouns in the singular. Numerals can also be used in front of count nouns:
I'd prefer a cat to a a dog. Cats are interesting.Singular count nouns cannot stand without a determiner."
Three cars were involved in the accident.
(R. Carter and M. McCarthy, Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006)
- Use of A Before Historic
"After many years, people still need to be told to talk about a historical novel, and a hotel, not an hotel . . .. The rule is that words beginning with an H only take an when they begin with a genuinely silent H, like heir, honour, hour and their derivatives. Words that merely look on paper as if they begin with a vowel sound, like one, use and euphoria, are preceded by a, not an, as you must know."
(Kingsley Amis, The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage. HarperCollins, 1997)
"The ever-popular an historic is incorrect, at least for American speakers, because historic does not begin with a vowel sound."
(Bill Walsh, The Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English. McGraw-Hill, 2004)
Pronunciation: in-DEF-i-nit ART-i-kull