Sunday, September 13, 2009

Indefinite Article A/AN

Dear readers,

Today I am going to discuss the indefinite article -a/an.Most of the mistakes made by non-native speakers of English is the omission of the indefinite article ..

ESLlearners seldom fail to use the indefinite article when it is the non-emphatic form of the counting number ONE.Example

I bought a pen for Rs.10.

However, most non-native speakers of English are not aware of several idiomatic uses of a/an because it makes no sense for them.Example

Her mother is a teacher .

The tendency of ESLlearners is to omit a The use of the indefinite article before nouns denoting trade or profession is unknown to speakers of native languages of India. Hence,one of the common errors made by Indian learners of English is the omission if the indefinite article before nouns denoting trade/profession.

The use of a/an before nouns preceded by adjectives is common among native speakers of English .But non-native speakers of English tend to omit a/an due to the influence of their mother tongues Example

Shakespeare had a deep understanding of human nature.

Non-native speakers may find the article unnecessary and omit it

Please note that a/an never takes stress .English is a stressed -timed language .This may explain the native English speakers' fondness for a/an.

Where AN is used

AN is used before nouns having an initial vowel sound Spelling is not always a guide!Example

French ia a European language.

"a European" because the initial sound is a consonant denoted by the IPA symbol/j/

It is a one-time offer>

"a one-time " because the initial sound is not a full vowel It is a semi-vowel denoted by the IPA symbol/w/

He was an honest man

"an honest" because ihe initial sound is a full vowel denoted by the IPA symbol/o/ and h is silent ,though present in spelling

Enough for indefinite article! I will continue the discussion in my next post

Thank you


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