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What Is the Indefinite Article? (with Examples)The indefinite article is the word a (or an when it helps pronunciation). It is used before a noun to describe it as something non-specific.
There are two types of articles:
- The Definite Article (the)
- The Indefinite Article (a and an).
A (or an) is known as the indefinite article because it indicates something non-specific.
In contrast to the indefinite article is the definite article (the), which sits before a noun to specify it as something previously considered (i.e., something specific).
Examples of the Indefinite ArticleThese sentences compare the use of indefinite and definite articles:
- Pass me a hammer. (The hammer is non-specific; i.e., any hammer will do.)
- Pass me the hammer. (The hammer is specific. It's the hammer known to the speaker and the listener; e.g., the one they've just been using.)
- I need a chair. (any chair)
- I need the chair. (a specific chair)