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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #107557: A/An - how to use
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Articles | Speaking | Tales [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - A/an - Vocabulary: greeting people - 'The' or nothing? - Vocabulary: on the phone - On the phone - Interacting with someone - Countable nouns with a/an and some - Article The and geography
    > Double-click on words you don't understand


    A/An - how to use


    ✔️ 1) THE FUNDAMENTALS :
    'a' is generally used in front of a consonant and 'an' in front of a vowel, BUT the use of 'an' depends on the pronunciation of the word and not on the writing of the word: ( a year is considered as if it began with a consonant) 




         

      

    ➡️ a) In front of the sound [ju] ( it's 'a vowel-sound'! => a University, a ewe (a female sheep), a universal feeling, a one-way street,


    but : an eye, an ear, an RAF pilot (a pilot in the Royal Air Force), an MP (Member of Parliament)...




    ➡️ b) Most Hs are pronounced and require 'a' except for : an heir (an heir to the throne), an hour, an honour, honest (and the words coming from them... )


    A house ( the h is pronounced) ; an hour  (the h is not-pronounced)


    eg. : 'Brutus is an honourable man !' 




    ➡️ c) the plural of a /an = 0 (no article)



    eg. : I have a cat, but you have dogs !







    ✔️2) Important usages: in front of all  singular attributes and apposition nouns, and especially :




    ➡️ a) In front of jobs and professions :


    eg. : Her father, a famous reporter, was taken as a hostage for a year.


    eg. : My brother is a famous Doctor in a huge hospital.




    ➡️ b) Behind prepositions
    : as/ without/ with...+ countable nouns:



    eg. : I could really do with a glass of hot milk !
    eg. : He's more famous as a painter than as a sculptor !




    ➡️ c) In expressions of frequency, and speed= for every



    Twice a day , 10€ an hour, 80 miles an hour .... An apple a day keeps the doctor away ...



    ➡️ d) After quite (totally) et rather:

    eg. : It's quite a remarkable portrait.




    ➡️ e) In exclamative clauses after what and such + uncountable nouns:



    eg. : It's such a beautiful Xmas tree !


    eg. : What a fat Santa Claus ! He'll never squeeze through the chimneys ...





      ! After the adjective in constructions introduced by 'So', 'too', 'as', in formal speech, a ou an is placed between the adjective and the noun...


    eg. : It's so interesting a book = It's such an interesting book!


    eg. : This is too difficult an exercise... I can't  do it ! = It's such a difficult exercice




    ➡️ f) What about 'half'?


    'half an hour', but 'one and a half hours',  and 'an hour and a half';  ('a half hour' = in the USA)




    ➡️ g) BEWARE ! The 'indefinite article' must be  OMITTED when preceding (almost ) all abstract nouns


    eg. : Such love, so immediate and unconditional for her unknown child was quite moving!
     


    eg. : On our way to my family's, we met horrible weather, stormy, cold and even snowy ! 




    eg. : What poverty ! What extreme destitution ! It's a heart-renting situation, but we don't know what to do to soothe such misery





                                   






    ➡️ h) In idioms


    A headache,  a sore throat, a clear/guilty conscience;


    A sense of humour (The British one, of course! ); She has a weak heart; to make a noise.


    In the following idioms,  'a' is used in front of des uncountables : What a pity!; What a shame!
    Such a fuss !(Such ado !);  Such a relief !; Such a hurry ! (Such a haste!).





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    I was at my best friend's home for the night. Her father, at Mercy Hospital, was on duty, and so was her mother, in town.

    They had left for when I started having and . Dina gave me and that tasted very bad.
    Suddenly, I felt I was flying over or was it , or just snow-covered ? I couldn't tell... There was in front of my eyes... and I thought : 'what ...' I was becoming dizzy and heard Dina call 911.

    Then, Jenny told Dina: 'I won't take to hold my hand. 'I must admit that I really made ,and told the paramedics I was exiled from her country for and finally, they gave me ...'
    'I've learnt my lesson: never trust a doctors' daughter ! You could gain in hospital for it...'









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