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Indefinite Article

The Spanish indefinite article "un" or "una" translates to "a" or "one" with singular nouns. "Unos" and "unas" translates to  "some" with plural nouns. For example:

Spanish

English

Singular / Plural

Singular / Plural

unteléfono / unos teléfonos

a telephone / some telephones

unaciudad / unas ciudades

a city / some cities

 

Just like the definite article, the indefinite article "un" precedes feminine nouns that begin with an "a" when the stress is on the first syllable. This is done to avoid placing "una" before words like "agua" creating "una agua", which is difficult to pronounce. However, when the stress is not on the first syllable the indefinite article "una" is used. For example:

Spanish

English

Singular / Plural

Singular / Plural

unagua / unas aguas

a water / some waters

unaamiga / unas amigas

a female friend / some female friends

 

Indefinite articles are used with a series of nouns. For example, "Mira una manzana, una naranja y un banano (Look at an apple, an orange and a banana)."

In Spanish, indefinite articles are often omitted where you might use them in English. Indefinite articles are not used:

·         Before an unmodified noun after a form of the verb "ser"(to be). For example,

Modifed

Unmodified

Ella va a ser una buena maestra (She will be a good tutor).

Ella va a ser maestra (She will be a tutor).

 

·         When the noun is not of a specific nature and typically following the verbs: tener (to have), necesitar (to need), buscar (to look for). For example, "Voy a necesitar trabajo (I will need a job)"

·         With otro (another), medio (half), cien (100), mil (1000), con (with), sin (without). For example,

Spanish

English

Quiero otro chocolate.

I want another chocolate.

Quiero medio chocolate.

I want half a chocolate.

Quiero cien chocolates.

I want a hundred chocolates.

Quiero mil chocolates.

I want a thousand chocolates.

Quiero chocolate con copa de leche.

I want chocolate with a cup of milk.

Quiero chocolate sin copa de leche.

I want chocolate without a cup of milk.