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Indefinite articles in Spanish

by | Spanish

Definition of article

Article is a word that is linked to nouns and its grammatical function is to give specificity to those nouns rather than describing them.  

 

The indefinite article

 

Singular

Plural

Masculine

Un

Example: un avión

Unos

Example: unos aviones

Feminine

Una

Example: una casa

Unas

Example: unas casas

 

Usage:

 

 

  1. When it is referring to something unknown by the speaker or speakers.
  • Él trajo una herramienta nueva (He brought a new tool)
  • Ellos trabajaron en un pueblo lejano (They worked in a distant town)
  • Ella recibió un regalo ayer (She received a gift yesterday)

 

  1. To talk about qualitative or quantitative non-evident features with “que”.
  • María tiene un carisma que enamora (Maria has an attracting charm)
  • Tengo un sueño intenso que no puedo mantener los ojos abiertos (I feel intensively sleepy that can hardly keep my eyes open)

 

  1. When the preceding noun doesn’t designate a particular individual but a kind.
  • Los profesores deberían tener una paciencia única (Teachers should have unique patience)
  • Los políticos tienen un gran poder de persuasión (Politicians have a great persuasion ability)

 

  1. To compare somebody with a famous person
  • Él tiene la voz de un Pavarotti (He has the voice of a Pavarotti)
  • Rosa es una Marie Curie (Rose is a Marie Curie)

 

 

  1. Before a cardinal number to mean “approximately”.
  • Vinieron unas cuarenta personas (Around forty people came)
  • La temperatura es de unos 23 grados (The temperature is around 23 degrees)

 

  1. It is used with the quantifiers “pocos”, “cuantos” to mean “some” or “several”
  • Él tiene unos pocos amigos (He has a few friends)
  • Esa persona ha visitado unos cuantos países (That person has visited a few countries)

 

  1. To name letters of the alphabet
  • Una eme minúscula casi no se ve (A lower case ‘m’ can hardly be seen)
  • ¿Qué es una hache muda? (What is a silent ‘h’?)

 

  1. To refer to people by their last names
  • Maria es una Rojas (Maria is a Rojas)
  • Ese niño es un González (That kid is a Gonzalez)

 

  1. With continent names the masculine form is used
  • Un Asia próspera (A prosperous Asia)
  • Un África en evolución (An Africa in evolution)

 

  1. With names of countries, cities or regions:
  • Él vivía en una Francia romántica (He used to live in a romantic France)
  • La de hoy, es una Inglaterra modernista (Today’s is a modern England)

 

  1. With unstressed initial “a”.
  • El ave tenía una alita herida (The bird had an injured wing)
  • Es una agüita medicinal (This is a medicinal infusion)

 

  1. With elative adjectives
  • ¡Fue una magnífica fiesta! (It was a great party!)
  • Le dieron a él un recibimiento inigualable (He was given an incomparable reception)

     

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