Indefinite articles Spanish: basic grammar (A1)

Like English, Spanish has two forms of the indefinite articles in the singular. However, in English, the use of «a or an» depends on the sound beginning the following word, whereas in Spanish the use of un or una depends on whether the noun with the article is masculine or feminine: un libro de gramática, una flor blanca.

Also, we are going to use unos and unas before a plural noun, masculine and feminine respectively: unos libros de gramática, unas flores blancas.


Indefinite articles in Spanish

 Un and una are used in pretty much the same circumstances as a/an in English, i.e. before a noun referring to a non-specific person or thing. Look more examples…

Quisiera un vaso de vino (I would like a glass of wine).

Hay una botella de leche en la nevera (There is a bottle of milk in the fridge).

Conozco a un hombre que  habla cinco idiomas (I know a man who speaks five languages).

Tenemos una gata que se llama Teresita (We have a female cat called little Theresa). 


 indefinite articlesHowever, unlike English, indefinite articles are not used in Spanish:

1. With nouns of occupation, nationality or religion after ser (to be) or hacerse (to become):

Soy estudiante (I am a student).

Cristiano Ronaldo es futbolista (Cristiana Ronando is a football player).

Mis abuela es católica (My grandmother’s a Catholic).

  Unless those nouns have additional information about them:

Carlos es un buen estudiante (Carlos is a good student).

Cristiano Ronando es un futbolista portugués  (Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portugues football player).

2. After buscar (to look for), comprar (to buy), llevar (to wear), tener (to have) and usar (to use) when talking about something you would normally only have one of:

Busco empleo (I am looking for a job).

Lleva falsa (She’s wearing a skirt).

No tiene coche (He doesn’ have a car)

Unless the noun includes extra information:

Busco un empleo interesante (I’m looking for an interesting job).

Lleva una falda  muy bonita (She’s wearing a nice skirt).

Tiene un coche azul (He has a blue car).

3. Before mil, cien, medio:

Lo he dicho mil veces (I’ve said it a thousand times).

Hay cien personas (There are a hundred people).

Compré un kilo y medio de naranjas (I bought a kilo and a half of apples).

4. Before  otro:

Dame otro libro (Give me another book).

¿Quieres otra cerveza? (Do you want another beer?).

5. After qué in exclamations:

¡Qué buena idea! ( What a good idea!).

¡Qué pena! (What a shame!).

6. Finally, don´t mistake the indefinite articles with definite articles:

Ahora trabaja en un banco (Now he works at a bank).

Trabaja en el Banco de Santander (He works at the Santander Bank).


Indefinite articles exercises

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