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The aptly named indefinite article indicates an unspecific or unidentified noun.
|Vedo una gatta e un cane.
|I see a cat and a dog.
|He has an idea.
Characteristics of indefinite articles
- Used with countable nouns (as opposed to uncountable nouns like money and water)
- Placed directly in front of a noun or an adjective + noun
- Agree with the noun in gender and number
Italian indefinite articles
|a, an, one
+ There are two singular articles for each gender, each of which can mean a, an, or one:
Un is the normal masculine singular indefinite article.
It changes to uno in front of a noun beginning with a complex sound.
Una is the normal feminine singular indefinite article.
It contracts to un’ in front of a vowel.
Note that all of the above rules also apply to the number "one."
+ There are three plural indefinite articles, all equivalent to "some":
|Masculine plural of un:
|Masculine plural of uno:
Many Italian grammars say that there is no plural indefinite article, or that you just use the partitive when you need a plural. While the plural forms of the indefinite and partitive articles are indeed identical, there is a difference between them – see Partitive articles.
|Nico è autore.
Nico è un autore.
|He’s an author.
Sono un insegnante.
|I’m a teacher.
It’s a bit more common in northern Italy and in writing, but otherwise, it’s correct with and without.
However, it is required when modified by an adjective or other descriptor:
|Nico è un autore famoso.
|He’s a famous author.
|Sono un insegnante di scuola elementare.
|I’m a grade school teacher.
Note that plural indefinite articles are identical to di + corresponding definite articles (articulated prepositions).
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