Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “a”

a

determiner (ONE)    weak /ə/ strong // (also an)
A1 one: a hundred a thousand a dozen There were three men and a woman.Cardinal numbers, including nought and zero A2 used between a fraction and a unit of measurement : half a mile a quarter of a kilo three quarters of an hour six tenths of a secondFractions A2 used when saying how often something happens in a certain period : Take one tablet three times a day . I swim once a week .Both, all, each and every A2 used when saying how much someone earns or how much something costs in a certain period : She earns $100,000 a year . My plumber charges £20 an hour . I pay £5 a week for my parking permit .Both, all, each and every Grammar:A/an and theGrammar:A/an and the: meaningA/an and the are articles. They are a type of determiner and they go before a noun.Grammar:When do we use a and when do we use an?In speaking, we use a /ə/ before a consonant sound:Grammar:How do we pronounce the?We pronounce the in two ways depending on whether the sound which comes after the is a vowel or a consonant:Grammar:When do we use articles?Grammar:A/an and the: typical errors
(Definition of a determiner (ONE) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of a

Definitions of “a” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

gastronomy

the art and knowledge involved in preparing and eating good food

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More