The, a and an

English grammar and usage issues

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The, a and an

Unread post by Rianne » 09 Aug 2007, 23:35

Hello. Please, can you help me? I never dont know when I use in sentence- the, a or an. It is terribly confusing me, and I must to know that of course. It brings me various problems in correspondence and can someone help me? ;) Except that I am not sured nor with Past tense, of Perfect Tense, when I use on, and when the other? Perfect Tense - we use when we dont know when that activity happenned, but I see that sometimes we use for that and Past tense. For example
I done my dinner or I have done my dinner? thank you¨!

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Unread post by pucca » 10 Aug 2007, 08:12

The first time you introduce a noun you usually use 'a/an' (indefinate articles)
e.g. I bought a computer yesterday.
I usually have an apple for lunch.

If you continue talking about the noun you switch to 'the' (definate article)
e.g. I bought a computer. The computer was expensive.

(This is a general rule to follow but sometimes, depending on the type of text and the context of the noun, usage is different) There are some really good books about grammar out there which will help you too.
Good luck!

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Unread post by veniceia » 22 Aug 2007, 07:21

"an" is used when the next word starts with a vowel like : This is such an interesting forum.

"a" is used when the next word starts with a consonant.
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Unread post by Chopvac » 19 Oct 2007, 22:13

Think of "the" versus "a" in mathematical terms:

the = 1/1
a = 1/many

If you're talking about a single thing and only that thing, it's "the". If it's one of two, one of many, or one in the world, then it's "a".

As for "a" or "an", it is NOT whether the word begins with a vowel or a consonant. It's whether the word begins with a vowel or a consonant *sound*. Notice:

a university, a one dollar bill, a ewe (girl sheep)

an hour, an honest person, an ylang-ylang tree

The sound rule works universally and has no exceptions to remember.
Last edited by Chopvac on 21 Oct 2007, 06:28, edited 1 time in total.

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articles (a/an/the)

Unread post by flowerbeast » 21 Oct 2007, 01:17

Articles are tricky. This page gives good info and is part of several pages devoted to teaching articles: ... tion04.php

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Re: The, a and an

Unread post by xiphiasatsi » 03 May 2013, 06:34

'an' is used when a word is starting with the alphabets- a,e,i,o,u.These 5 letters together are called vowels.
Eg:- an apple
an aeroplane
an egg
an idiot
an orange
an old man
an umbrella

'a' is used for words starting with alphabets other than these above vowels.The rest of the letters together are called consonants.

'I am done with my dinner' is correct.It is past tense.It means you have already finished your dinner.

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Re: The, a and an

Unread post by Alex Case » 04 May 2013, 13:07

As someone has already pointed out above, it is the sound at the beginning of the word, not the letter.

"am done" is not a past tense.
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