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Section 11.8.2

Indefinite Articles

An indefinite article signals that the noun is nonspecific or that other examples of the nounexist (that the noun is not unique). Use an indefinite article (a oran) if a noun is new to the reader or is an arbitrary example of theclass that the noun belongs to.


An airplane's shadow is virtually the same sizeregardless of its altitude. [An signals that airplaneis an arbitrary example, that more than one airplane exists.]

--"Take It or Leave It," Valley Comic News

The Greenhouse Effect is a theory in environmentalscience which warns of the warming of the globe due to anincrease in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. [Other theoriesexist; the first time an increase is mentioned, it is new to thereader.]


See Usage Rules for Articles for further informationabout how indefinite articles are used in sentences. Also see Choosing between a and an.

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