The most frequently used adjectives are a, an and the. These little words are usually called articles and they belong to the class of words called determiners.
A and an are indefinite articles; they refer to one of a general group.
A woman arrived.
He is reading a magazine.
She bought a dress today.
Would you like an ice-cream?
An automobile went by.
He waited an hour.
A is used before words beginning with a consonant sound (a car, a bird, a university).
An is used before words beginning with a vowel sound (an umbrella, an hour)
Notice in the sentence, “He waited an hour.”, that an is used before a noun beginning with the consonant h, because the h in hour is not pronounced. Hour is pronounced as if it began with a vowel (like our). Remember that the sound of the noun, not the spelling, determines which indefinite article will be used.
The woman arrived.
The automobile went by.
The hour for her departure finally arrived.
He won the race.
Where is the cat?
We are going to the beach.
An introduction or overview of English articles: a, an, the, and the zero article.
Level: Intermediate to advanced.
This is a lesson in two parts. Part 1 presents basic rules or guidelines for using English articles.