不定冠詞

不定冠詞有兩個:a 和 an 。不定冠詞就跟其他冠詞一樣,沒有型態上的變化。至於要選用哪一個不定冠詞,要取決於名詞第一個字母或第一個音節的發音。當名詞是子音開頭,或是以 u 或 eu 開頭(發音上接近「you」),就用 a;而當名詞是以母音開頭,或是以不發音的 h 開頭,則用 an。

 

舉例
  • a boy
  • an apple
  • a car
  • a helicopter
  • an elephant
  • a big elephant
  • an itchy sweater
  • an ugly duck
  • a european
  • a university
  • a unit
  • an hour
  • an honor

初次提及某物時,會在名詞前用不定冠詞。有時特指群體中的一個成員時,也會用不定冠詞。以下提供幾個使用的時機和例句:

第一次提及某物時,用不定冠詞。

舉例
  • Would you like a drink?
  • I've finally got a good job.
  • An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
特指群體的某個成員

在職業名前加不定冠詞。

舉例
  • John is a doctor.
  • Mary is training to be an engineer.
  • He wants to be a dancer.

在單數的國籍或宗教名稱前加不定冠詞。

舉例
  • John is an Englishman.
  • Kate is a Catholic.

如果沒有特指任何一週的某個日子時,就在那個日子前用不定冠詞。

舉例
  • I was born on a Thursday.
  • Could I come over on a Saturday sometime?

用不定冠詞指某件事的例子。

舉例
  • The mouse had a tiny nose .
  • The elephant had a long trunk .
  • It was a very strange car .

在 what 和 such 後的單數名詞前用不定冠詞。

舉例
  • What a shame !
  • She's such a beautiful girl .
  • What a lovely day !

在指單個人或物或者單個測量單位時,就用 a 來表示「一個」。在這些句子中,a 並不是不定冠詞,但在文法上是正確的。這種用法強調了數量,也表達數字間的對比。

舉例
  • I'd like an orange and two lemons please.
  • I'd like one orange and two lemons please.
  • The burglar took a diamond necklace and some valuable paintings.
  • I can think of a hundred reasons not to come.
  • I need a kilogram of sugar.
  • I need one kilogram of sugar.
  • You can't run a mile in 5 minutes!