for English Language Learners (ELL) – those learning to speak English as a Second Language (ESL), or English as an Additional Language (EAL)
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COUNTABLE and UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
or COUNT and NON-COUNT nouns
Lesson 10 – COUNTABLE NOUNS – Beginner Rules for Articles – How to Use a and an
At the BEGINNER LEVEL, you need to learn to use articles.
Articles are part of the bigger group of determiners.
A and an mean one (1). When you refer to a singular countable noun for the first time, use a or an.
A and an are only used with countable nouns. Do not use a or an with uncountable nouns.
How do I know when to use a and when to use an?
A is used before a noun which begins with a consonant sound.
An is used before a noun which begins with a vowel sound.
There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. The vowels are a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y. All the other letters are consonants.
Be careful: Sometimes the sound at the beginning of a noun is not the same as the spelling.
For example: Hour begins with the consonant h, but the first sound of hour is the same vowel sound which is at the beginning of our.
University is spelled with the vowel u as the first letter, but the first sound is y, which is the same sound at the beginning of yellow.