Definite and indefinite articles
'A' and 'an' are the indefinite articles of English; 'the' is the definite article. David explains what that means!
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- In the video, David pronounced "the" as in "thee." Isn't it pronounced "thuh?"(15 votes)
- To be honest, both are correct. I say the like "thee" before uh words, the rest of the time I say it like "thuh".(2 votes)
- I just have a question, for the word "Hour." why do people use an?(14 votes)
- Excellent question, Courtney! People use an because the
hin hour isn't pronounced; the word begins with a vowel sound. Remember that we use an before words that begin with vowel sounds, and _a_ before words that begin with consonant sounds!(25 votes)
- is "that" also included like, "I want the orange" and "I wanted that orange"(5 votes)
- Both "the" and "that" are correct in this sentence. "The" functions as an article, designating one fruit from among fruits of other kinds, as in, "Not the mango, the mangosteen or the pomelo, but the ORANGE." Use of "that" is functioning as a demonstrative adjective, delimiting which of many same items you desire. As in: "Not the orange on the left or the orange with the stem still on it, but THAT orange, the one with the smiley face sticker on it."(14 votes)
- wait so you can't say a apple or you just don't say it because it's hard on your tongue?
(it does kind of sounds wrong to say "a apple")(5 votes)
- The rule goes as follows: Before words beginning with a vowel sound, the indefinite article is pronounced "an". That applies even when certain words begin with an unvoiced consonant, like "honest". So we say, "an honest politician". It also applies when words beginning with vowels begin with a consonant sound. So we say, "A University degree".(9 votes)
- How about a only bookstore or an only bookstore ? Because only is an adjective came before the noun bookstore.(5 votes)
- Because the initial sound of the word "only" is a vowel, the indefinite article is "an".(6 votes)
- is "may I have some of the oranges" better than "may I have the oranges".(5 votes)
- That depends, if you want ALL of the oranges, ask, "May I have the oranges." BUT, if you do not want ALL of them, ask, "May I have some of the oranges?" or "May I have some oranges?"(3 votes)
- Could you explain to me why I can't use "an" for this question? Doesn't the word "use" start with vowel?
I need to find ____ use for this leftover chicken broth.(4 votes)
- You have done what I've frequently done, made a rule based on how something is written rather than how it is spoken. The article "a" goes before consonant SOUNDS and the article "an" before vowel SOUNDS. That's why we say "an honest man" and "a universal picture". The rule is not about writing, but about speaking.(2 votes)
- at 2;40, david says languages reward laziness, why is that so, i dont understand(2 votes)
- What he means by that is when language develops which ever way is easier to say is the way that will become more widely used(4 votes)
- why we use "a" universal not "an" universal ?(1 vote)
- When a word doesn't begin with a vowel, we put an instead of a, for example, An apple. When the letter is a consonant, we put a before it, for example, A ball.
And I know what you're thinking, the word universal starts with a consonant! There is an exception to the rule sometimes because, for instance, the "u" in universal makes a "y" sound. If the word were, say, umbrella, then you would put "an" before it.
I hope this answered your question!(6 votes)
- How about a alpha or an alpha ? I mean Duolingo Greek course for English speakers there was a phrase "α άλφα" translated to a alpha instead of an alpha ? That's confusing.(3 votes)
- "α άλφα"
The α is simply the Greek letter alpha. It is not an indefinite article. DuoLingo was simply showing you the greek letter α along with its name (άλφα).
In fact, while there are quite a few indefinite articles in Greek as they are gendered, α is not one of them.
Edit: in modern Greek, the letters have neuter gender, which means the indefinite article for alpha would be ένα. So if you wanted to refer to any letter άλφα, you would write "ένα άλφα", not "α άλφα".(1 vote)
laz- [Voiceover] So we've covered the basic idea that divides the usage of "the" from "a" and "an". "The" is the definite article, and "a" or "an" is the indefinite. So when you're being non-specific in language, you would use the indefinite article as in, "May I have an orange?" Cause it doesn't matter which orange you're asking for, you don't care, it's any orange, as opposed to if you wanted the orange. This usage is much more specific, and it seems to indicate that there is only one orange. You see the orange in particular that you want, you're identifying it, you're asking for it. That's what this definite usage is. Something that's interesting about the word "the" is that it can be used for both singular and plural nouns. So it's both singular and plural. So you could say "May I have the orange?" You could also say "May I have the oranges?" And "a" and "an" does not really allow this, it is only singular. So you can't say "May I have an oranges?" This is not standard. What you'd probably say instead is "May I have some oranges?" So this is not standard, does not work in standard American English. The other thing about "a" or "an" is that it's "a" or "an". The indefinite article changes depending on the vowel sound that comes after it. So changes for vowel sounds. Now what does that mean? Well it means that if you know that word that you're going to say next like ah or ooh or eh or uh or ee, then you're gonna change it to "an". So it's the difference between saying "A box," and "An apple." What we don't say in standard American English is "a apple." It's not as easy on the mouth, frankly, it takes a little bit more effort. And any linguist will tell you that the way languages develop is that they reward laziness. So we say "a box" but we say "an apple." Something a little weird though, you want to make sure that you're looking for vowel sounds not just for vowels. Because some vowels, for example, the letter U don't always produce "ooh" sounds. Sometimes if they're at the beginning of a word, like in word union, so if you say "a union," that produces a "yuh" sound, and "yuh" is technically a consonant sound. That's not a vowel. But there are certainly cases like "An underwater boat," where the letter U does produce an "ooh" or an "uh" sound, and that's a vowel. So if you're gonna start the word with a vowel sound, what you wanna do is choose "an" instead of "a" but just be careful of the letter U for example. So to recap, "the" is the definite article. You can use it for both singular and plural usage. "May I have the orange?" "May I have the oranges?" "A" or "an" is indefinite and it's only singular, so you can say "May I have an orange?" or "May I have some oranges?" Before a vowel sound, "a" changes to "an" so you say "a box," but "an apple". Not "a apple." You say "a union," but "an underwater boat." You can learn anything. David out.