GYG Day 52. ‘A’ post.

Not just any old post, a post about ‘A’, and not forgetting ‘an’. This first sentence highlights a use of ‘a/an’, namely when a noun is mentioned for the first time – “a post about ‘A’”. However, if we repeat it, we use ‘the’ instead so you get “…. a post about ‘A’. The post also reveals when and when not to use ‘an’.” – it’s a little bit trickier than you maybe think.

Back to ‘A’, in grammar jargon is also known as the ‘indefinite article’, and yesterday’s ‘THE’ the ‘definite article’. Like the word ‘indefinite’ (not clearly defined), we use it ‘indefinite’ nouns for more general meanings, e.g. a pen because it doesn’t matter which pen.”So kiddiwinkies (children), get out a pen and your grammar notebook.”

Yes, I WAS talking to YOU because you may want to jot down the rule for ‘an’. We all know that ‘an’ is used before a word that begins with a vowel. However, it is the SOUND, which is crucial. Have a look at the following examples:

an hour’ (the ‘h’ is silent, it is spoken like ‘our’)

‘an’ MP (the ‘m’ is pronounced ‘em’)

but ‘a’ university (the ‘u’ is spoken more like ‘you’)

Next ‘A’ is used with numbers (a hundred, a thousand) and fractions (a half, a quarter). Check out this example “A million people received our help last year. A few, however, were not so lucky.” Did you know that when you say ‘a few people’ (with countable nouns) or ‘a little help’ (with uncountable nouns), it means ‘some’?

Here’s a little titbit for you (and your notebook), if you leave away the ‘a’, ‘few people’ now means ‘not many’ and ‘little help’ now means ‘not much’.

 Please translate this “einmal die Woche”, did you get ‘once a year’? The ‘A’ means ‘every’ with expressions of time. BTW we usually use ‘once’, ‘twice’, instead of ‘one time’ and ‘two times’, strangely we then say ‘three times’. Yes, I know English can be weird.

Last but not least, we use ‘A’ to describe a person’s job (She’s a lorry driver) or situation (He’s an old-age pensioner).

I certainly had fun writing ‘THE’ post, and I hope you fun reading it!

to highlight sth (etw hervorheben), to mention sth (etw erwähnen), however (jedoch), to reveal sth (hier: etw zeigen), to jot sth down (schnell hinschreiben), vowel (Vokal), key (entscheidend), to pronounce (etw aussprechen), to be lucky (Glück haben), (un)countable ((un)zahlbar), noun (Substantiv ), pensioner (Rentner),

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