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Quick answer
"Un" is an indefinite article which is often translated as "a", and "la" is a definite article which is often translated as "the". Learn more about the difference between "un" and "la" below.
un(
oon
)
An indefinite article is a word that indicates that a noun is not specific (e.g. a girl).
1. (singular)
a. a
Había un coche estacionado en la puerta.There was a car parked at the gate.
b. an (before vowel sound)
Tienen una vieja cámara que todavía funciona.They have an old camera which is still working.
2. (plural)
a. some
Compré unos libros muy interesantes.I bought some very interesting books.
Conseguí unas manzanas deliciosas en el mercado.I got some delicious apples at the market.
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la(
lah
)
A definite article is a word that identifies a noun as as specific or known to the speaker (e.g. the girl).
1. (before singular or uncountable feminine nouns)
a. the
La pelota está en el tejado.The ball is on the roof.
La leche está en el refrigerador.The milk is in the refrigerator.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
2. (direct object replacing feminine noun)
a. her
Quiero conocer a tu esposa. Si puedes, tráela la próxima vez.I want to meet your wife. If you can, bring her next time.
b. it
La carne que probamos estaba deliciosa. ¿Podemos cenarla?The meat we tried was delicious. Can we have it for dinner?
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
3. (the sixth note on a diatonic scale)
a. la
La canción va así: "la, si, la, do".The song goes like this: "la, ti, la, do."
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