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Articles - Indefinite

Overview

Indefinite articles in Spanish are the English equivalents of "a," "an," and "some" or "a few." They follow the same rule as definite articles in that they must match in gender and number to the noun they precede.

Indefinite Articles

singular | plural
f una unas
m un unos

Uses of Indefinite Articles

Using indefinite articles is a little tricky just like the definite articles. There are cases in English where we wouldn't use "a," but we would in Spanish and vice versa. Here is a short list of the most common times you do use the indefinite article:

1. To describe a person using a noun

  • Mi hermano es un genio. (My brother is a genius.)
  • Los bomberos son unos héroes. (Firemen are heros.)

2. To describe an (approximate) amount of something

  • Quiero una manzana. (I want an apple.)
  • Tengo unas cincuenta dolares. (I have about fifty dollars.)
  • Compró unos perros calientes. (He bought a few hot dogs.)
  • Necesitamos unas guitarras. (We need a few guitars.)

When NOT to use Indefinite Articles

1. To describe an unknown amount of something

  • ¿Hay calabaza en la sopa? (Is there a (any) squash in the soup?)
  • ¿Hay arañas en su sótano? (Are there spiders in your basement?)

2. When not referring to a specific item, but rather the idea of the thing.

This is common when using nouns as adjectives like professions, religions, nationalities, tools, etc.

  • Soy profesora de español. (I am a Spanish professor.)
  • Soy una profesora de español muy buena (I am a very good Spanish teacher)
  • Él es católico. (He is a Catholic.)
  • Él es un católico muy creyente. (He is a very faithful Catholic.)
  • Mis amigos son peruanos. (My friends are Peruvian.)
  • Mis amigos son unos peruanos muy simpáticos. (My friends are very nice Peruvians.)
  • Ahora tenemos teléfono (Now we have a phone)
  • Ahora tenemos un teléfono inalámbrico (Now we have a wireless phone)
  • ¿Tienes coche? (Have you got a car?)
  • Tengo un coche rojo (I have a red car)

3. When the noun is preceded by: cierto/a, medio/a, tal(es), otro/a, or mil

  • Cierta persona tiene un secreto. (A certain person has a secret.)
  • Iremos al cine en media hora. (We´ll go to the theater in a half hour.)
  • No me cuentes tal cosa. (Don´t tell me such a thing.)
  • Dame otra camisa. (Give me another shirt.)
  • Él ganó mil dolares. (He won a thousand dollars.)

Exercises

  1. Write the indefinite article for each noun.

Example: ñandú -> un ñandú

  • libro
  • secretos
  • agua
  • camisa
  • lápiz
  • leones
  • padres
  • actor
  • carro
  • niña
  1. For each sentence, fill in the blank with the correct indefinite article. If no article is needed, leave it blank.
  • ____ gatos de Samuel son viejos.
  • Me pregunté ____ cierta persona.
  • Mi padre es ____ doctor.
  • Ella tiene ____ 50 dolares.
  • Mamá necesita ____ otro carro.

Answers

Part 1

  • un libro
  • unos secretos
  • una agua
  • una camisa
  • un lápiz
  • unos leones
  • unos padres
  • un actor
  • un carro
  • una niña

Part 2

  • Unos
  • none
  • none
  • unos
  • none
100521 views
updated AGO 6, 2012
edited by martha-sd
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