(There is a yellow house near the swimming pool.). The appearance is that Spanish frequently "omits" the indefinite articles. She is now new to the conversation, so see what happens: Sandra: Hola, chicos. ), Hay un niño en la cocina. Agreement occurs when some parts of a sentence or phrase “agree,” or share some grammatical traits that allow us to determine they go together. We can now add an adjective. Whether you're writing an email, or correo electrónico, to a hotel to book your reservation or you're catching up with an old friend by snail mail, knowing how to write a basic letter, or carta, in Spanish will help you communicate better and feel more confident in your linguistic abilities.. This article will teach you everything you need to know to use them correctly. (She calls her dog.) This is not because we do not know the person or the person is unspecified, but because we believe the person is one in a group of others like them. In English we might say "a cat and dog," for example, but in Spanish it must be un gato y un perro. Peter is asking about an old car, a car both he and Mark knew about, so instead of using the indefinite article, he uses the definite one. The opposite, however, is not always true, as there are many times that an "a" or "an" is left untranslated in Spanish. (This rose is a delicate flower. (María is a good mother. FluentU provides authentic Spanish videos, like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks and more, that have been transformed into language learning experiences. In Argentina, for example, this is a vulgar word to name the masculine sexual organ. (John is a crazy American.). There are three situations when you should avoid using the indefinite article in Spanish: Let us examine the following two sentences: Compra unas patatas. Se produce un derrame tumoral antes de la cirugía o durante esta. But before entering the realm of my grammar-loving brain, let us see what an indefinite article really is. Meaning: In front of, before. Our book is like a joker that represents all the books in existence. In English we might say "a cat and dog," for example, but in Spanish it must be un gato y un perro. But the reverse isn't true. It is no different in Spanish. Although they don't have an exact English equivalent, they are usually translated as "some" or "a few". As you can see, when Mark mentions his new car for the first time, he is using the indefinite article both in Spanish and English. What have you done with the old one? We are talking about an unidentified cook who represents the whole group of cooks in the world. Rude or colloquial translations are usually marked in red or orange. However, there is one very small group of words that are an exception to the agreement rules stated above. Mark and Peter are chatting. (There are some kids in that park. (I need half an hour to finish. 11. And that, ladies and gentlemen and gender-neutral friends, is how you create agreement in a sentence. In English, we use the indefinite articles a and an (as opposed to the definite article the). See examples of Un causa in Spanish. What’s up? As you can clearly see, these nouns keep on being feminine, and the adjectives they accept can only be feminine. ), Dame unos caramelos. "How To Use ‘Un’ and ‘Una’ in Spanish (or Leave Them Out)." Now we need to find an indefinite article that is also feminine and singular. Buenos días is used in the morning until noon.Buenas tardes is used after midday usually until the sun goes down.Buenas noches is used in the evening and at night, usually when it gets dark, but, unlike English, we also use it to greet people and not only to say goodbye or when we’re going to bed. ), Mil (thousand): Ayer me gasté mil dólares. Using Infinitives as the Subject of a Sentence . Una cebra means 'a zebra.' Have a look: Soy un padre muy responsable. (I have sold it to a friend.). Tumor spillage occurs either before or during surgery. We will start with the noun. Peter had no idea of the existence of the new car, so Mark needs to use the indefinite article to introduce it. We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe, Get regular language learning tips, resources and updates, starting with the "Complete Guide to Foreign Language Immersion" e-book, Sign up for our weekly blog newsletter for a chance to win a free FluentU Plus subscription (value $240). (What an expensive book!). (Give me some sweets. Rude or colloquial translations are usually marked in red or orange. Finally, there is a small group of words that, by nature, do not accept the indefinite article. FluentU brings Spanish to life with real-world videos. There are also some special contexts that always require an indefinite article in Spanish, which we will cover below. (There’s such a noise I can’t concentrate. Mark has bought a new car. We discuss the differences between definite and indefinite articles in Spanish and special uses of the articles UN, UNA, UNOS, UNAS. We are asking if the stew has any potatoes at all! “A” is called an indefinite article in English, and as you can see above, it is a tiny but powerful little word. ), Tal (such): Hay tal ruido que no puedo concentrarme. If you have a closer look at the second line of dialogue, you will see the words “el” and “the” are emphasized. Real sentences showing how to use Mi correctly. Please report examples to be edited or not to be displayed. Use una for singular, feminine nouns. ), Hay unas casas muy grandes en esta calle. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/singular-indefinite-articles-3079098. Finally, Mark’s answer “a un amigo” implies there is a friend of his who bought the old car—something else that Peter did not know about. The Grammar Guide to Spanish Colors: Speak the Rainbow! Finally, there is one case where we don't use the indefinite article in English where it's needed in Spanish. Tiene una novia española. ), Dime unas palabras en inglés. (Hi, guys. (Tell me some words in English.). But, wait a second! Past papers and sample examinations are posted below. ), Unas chicas me ayudaron. It is very common in Spanish for an infinitive to be the subject of a sentence or clause. So, as you can probably guess by now, it accompanies masculine, plural nouns. Although English requires the word "a" before "mariner" and "captain," Spanish doesn't require an equivalent word, which in this case would be un. A curious fact to bear in mind is that the city of Cusco had the shape of a Puma and the exact Head was Sacsayhuaman. Examples are used only to help you translate the word or expression searched in various contexts. (Buy a few apples. Unas sillas es lo que hace falta comprar. ), John es un americano loco. That sentence indicates one of the differences between Spanish and English. Tengo un libro rojo. ), Dime una palabra polaca. When talking about an unspecified person or object inside a group, we have to use the indefinite article. Again, don’t expect this word to work the same way in other countries! Si ocurre un derrame, dilúyalo con agua y lávelo para eliminarlo. (There is one child in the kitchen. FluentU is an entertaining, immersive tool to absorb Spanish grammar rules naturally. Real sentences showing how to use Un calendario correctly. When con can be translated as "using," the article is typically omitted if the object is being used in an ordinary way. Mark se ha comprado un coche nuevo. Words like padre, libro, vaso or gato accept un. Since the videos are organized by genre and learning level, it is easy to find something that works for you. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates. ), Unos caballeros preguntan por ti. That means we use it alongside masculine, singular nouns. FluentU is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. (I have a red book.) As for religion and nationality, Americans tend to omit the article, so we are safe here. ), Me he encontrado una piedra en el bolsillo. Hay un vaso encima de la mesa. Note the distinction in these sentences: Conozco a … This lesson explains how to make sentences using indefinite articles in Spanish to talk about different things. Mil and cien already refer to one thousand and one hundred, respectively. Machado is one of Spain's greatest poets, and he lived through some of Spain's most tumultuous times, having experienced both the authoritarian rule of Primo de Rivera and the Spanish Civil War. ), Hay unos gatos en el tejado. Omitting Articles With Certain Large Numbers, Including the Indefinite Article When English Doesn’t. We are not talking about a specific cook called Gordon who lives in Manhattan. ¿Y qué has hecho con el viejo? It is hard to get through a sentence without using it. (Hi, Peter! He’s looking for a little flat. Add a verb, an object or whatever you need to build a complete sentence, and the result may look like this: Hay una casa amarilla cerca de la piscina. Thus, like with some other common verbs, you need to pay attention to context when translating tomar.It generally isn't all that difficult figuring out what the verb means, as long as you realize that it usually conveys the idea of taking something or taking something in. © 2021 Enux Education Limited. I love the color yellow, so our adjective will be amarillo. When you translate these words into English, most of them have the indefinite article around. Un cocinero es una persona que cocina. The Plural Forms of 'Uno' and 'Una' In Spanish, these words can also exist in the plural form; unos and unas are known as the plural indefinite articles. ), Juana es una amiga mía. All Rights Reserved. He uses the indefinite article in order to introduce the information. When constructing a sentence with indefinite articles, two important types of agreement are gender and number. ), Hay un vaso encima de la mesa. Learn Spanish Grammar and Vocabulary with These 12 Catchy Songs, 19 Superb Sites for Spanish Listening Practice to Amp Up Your Skills, 12 of the Best Websites to Learn Spanish for Absolute Mastery, 8 Intermediate Online Courses to Lift Your Spanish to New Heights. (Ana is a very beautiful woman. Get to Know the Spanish Indefinite Articles Un (A/An) Un is the masculine, singular indefinite article. https://www.thoughtco.com/singular-indefinite-articles-3079098 (accessed January 24, 2021). Once you read through the usage rules below, apply them in real videos for free with the FluentU trial. Un perro means 'a dog.' ), Peter: Hola, Sandra. (2020, August 26). All the information you need to know about the Spanish indefinite articles. See examples of Mi in Spanish. Cebra is a feminine, singular noun, so una matches cebra. They are not selected or validated by us and can contain inappropriate terms or ideas. (I am a professor at the University of Barcelona. 13 Grammatical Mistakes You Can Avoid When Speaking Spanish, Use and Omission of the Definite Article in Spanish, Neither Masculine nor Feminine: Using the Neuter Gender in Spanish, Using ‘Que’ and Other Relative Pronouns in Spanish. (I am a very responsible father.) Translated, that would be, "I am not a mariner, I am a captain, I am a captain.". (A few gentlemen are asking for you. If you listen to oldies music, you may recall one of the sentences of a popular Spanish-language dance tune: Yo no soy marinero, soy capitán, soy capitán. We also have to use the indefinite article when we describe something or someone by using a noun plus an adjective. Looking for a fast way to get these usage rules down? However, Mark has already shown the car to Sandra, so he rectifies Peter indirectly by using “el,” because Sandra already knows what he is talking about. Here you have some examples: Soy profesor en la Universidad de Barcelona. He has a Spanish girlfriend. Es un pijo, me cae gordo. Unos is the masculine, plural indefinite article. An easy way to remember the meaning of this word is to think of … You will also see other videos that have the word you clicked, which will help you understand how it is used it a variety of real-world contexts. (I have some very interesting books. Understanding Spanish articles is crucial to speaking fluently. ), there's no need to put anything between the que and the following noun. Un libro puede tener muchas páginas. ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/singular-indefinite-articles-3079098. If spillage occurs, dilute with water and flush away. Sample Examinations. (Download). Say "no soy un marinero, soy un capitán," and it would sound as awkward (and improper) as one possible translation into English: "I am not one mariner, I am one captain.". "A" and "an" are known to grammarians as indefinite articles, and the Spanish equivalents are un (used before masculine nouns and noun phrases) and una (feminine). We do not utter an exact number, but I think we can all agree some can mean something around five or 10 to 20. Let’s begin by watching a short video showing a list of Spanish personal pronouns and explaining how these pronouns are organized into categories. So in this post, we’ll cover common phrases to express your condolences to the family or friend who has lost a loved one. Una is what we were looking for, and that gives us Una casa (a house). Just like the definite articles, each corresponds to a gender and to a number. (There’s a house near the lake. When describing people with a noun, the indefinite article is used. Real sentences showing how to use Ir correctly. (Yes, it’s the car I showed you yesterday.). The video intends to give you a broad idea of what the lesson is all about and includes a few important notes to learn to use subject pronouns in simple sentences and lots of examples too, so please stick until the end of the video. Unlike in English, Spanish adjectives change depending on the gender and number of the noun. (A book can have many pages.). Take as an example the words madre, piedra, casa and amiga: María es una buena madre. Without the second un, the phrase would be understood as referring to one creature, a cross between a cat and dog. Recommended: How to Learn Spanish Fast in 2020. ), Necesito unos pañuelos. Note the distinction in these sentences: Gerald Erichsen is a Spanish language expert who has created Spanish lessons for ThoughtCo since 1998. In exclamations such as "¡Qué sorpresa!" Have a look: Soy un padre muy responsable. Now, let’s look at examples of how we use indefined articles in the Spanish language. Without the second un, the phrase would be understood as referring to one creature, a cross between a cat and dog. Use unos for plural, masculine nouns. Examples are used only to help you translate the word or expression searched in various contexts. Una semana (a week), una hoja (a leaf). Note that un and una can also mean … However, remember that if you have an adjective accompanying the occupation, religion or nationality, the indefinite article appears once again: Es un gran profesor. There are two main types of Spanish articles: definite and indefinite. Un is the masculine, singular indefinite article. Real sentences showing how to use Un ejemplo correctly. The exact same thig happens with the article una. They are not selected or validated by us and can contain inappropriate terms or ideas. Generally speaking, whenever you use un or una in Spanish, you need to use "a" or "an" to say the equivalent in English. The agreement rule specifically says that if a noun is feminine and singular, the indefinite article you have to use is una. Easy, right? ), Esta rosa es una flor delicada. However, as any Spanish learner knows all too well, Spanish is rife with false friends. Each video comes with interactive captions you can click for an instant definition and native pronunciation of any word. can take anywhere. Do not sweat over a stack of flashcards. Please report examples to be edited or not to be displayed. In translation to English, either the infinitive or the gerund can be used, although Spanish gerunds can't function as nouns. With the meaning of “some/a few,” we are obviously going to use them when talking about approximate amounts of things or people. Words like padre, libro, vaso or gato accept un. Later in this post we will explain some different, specific contexts that require the indefinite article, but these are the basic principles you can use going forward. See examples of Un ejemplo in Spanish. ), Tengo un libro rojo. Rude or colloquial translations are usually marked in red or orange. ), Cierto (one): Cierto día me dijo la verdad. Now imagine Sandra is passing by and she sees the guys talking. Further, once you change the word into its plural form, the “revolution” ends and they adopt the feminine indefinite article once again. In the second sentence we have not used the indefinite article. But this group of words refuse to use una because they say they do not like so many “a” sounds together. Spanish adjectives are an essential part of speech, but they can also be a little complicated to master. He comprado tan solo un regalo. (Juana is a friend of mine.). Ana es una mujer muy guapa. Erichsen, Gerald. ThoughtCo. (He is a very humble Christian. Then you will find a section regarding grammatical gender and number and how they work alongside indefinite articles. For example, the sentence "Salir es difícil" could be translated as either "To leave is difficult" or "Leaving is difficult." This has to be your priority when choosing your articles, your nouns and even your adjectives. For example, the sentence “I hear a snake” would be translated as: Yo oigo un serpiente, with no need for a personal a. The article is frequently omitted after forms of tener (to have), comprar (to buy), llevar (to wear), and some other verbs when generically referring to things that people would normally have or use one at a time. Erichsen, Gerald. Real sentences showing how to use Un causa correctly. If you ignore grammatical agreement you will definitely sound like a lazy foreigner who does not even try. We need a feminine, singular adjective so that it can agree with our noun and our article. (I have found a few coins on the floor. ), Es un cristiano muy humilde. And you do not want that! Did you know I have bought a new car? ), Otro (another): Dame otra oportunidad. Early in this post, we explained that indefinite articles are required when you are discussing something or someone that has yet to be specified or is not familiar to everyone you are talking to. Spanish has three sets of demonstrative adjectives, each of which has four different forms that vary by gender and number. Literally, “You are a sun.” This can be applied to both men and woman and it does not need a change in gender). We are not asking if the stew contains some 10 potatoes or some 25 potatoes, but whether the stew contains any potatoes altogether. Use un for singular, masculine nouns. (A cook is a person who cooks.). (I have a red book. Siempre me decía mi madre que en la vida se recoge lo que se siembra. In this article, we'll show you everything you need to know about writing a letter in Spanish. ), Mark: Sí, es el coche que te enseñé ayer. This poem was written by Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who was born in Seville in 1875 and passed away in France in 1939. It is the feminine, singular indefinite article, so only feminine, singular nouns can accompany it. Once again, we are not talking about a specific book, but about any book. (One day she told me the truth. We also participate in other affiliate advertising programs for products and services we believe in. Nombres Abstractos (Abstract Nouns) On the other side of the coin we have abstract nouns, which … I have divided the following information into different sections: First you will have a quick overview of the different Spanish indefinite articles with their meanings and some sample sentences for each of them. It does not matter if you are talking about something known or unknown, specified or not, if you have only one of them, you have to use the indefinite article un/una. Don't use the indefinite article before an unmodified noun after a form of ser ("to be"), especially in reference to occupation, religion, affiliation, or social status. ), El cáncer es una enfermedad muy peligrosa. When we refer to people or things that have not been specifically identified, we need to use an indefinite article. (I spent a thousand dollars yesterday. Erichsen, Gerald. For example, since th… ¿Sabías que me he comprado un coche nuevo? See, for example, word pairs like unify and unificar, extract and extraer, and cooperate and cooperar. They are not selected or validated by us and can contain inappropriate terms or ideas. (Buy a few potatoes.). Mark: ¡Hola, Peter! Mark has bought a new car and is very eager to share the news. Prefixes are a great shortcut for language learning, but they do also require attention to detail and study time. (There are some very big houses on this street. (You are a sweetie. (Tell me one Polish word.). Thanks for subscribing! (What a surprise!