Spanish indefinite articles

May 22, 2021

Spanish is a language rich in vocabulary and grammar. It is the second most widely spoken language in the world, and it is becoming increasingly important in all fields.

If you want to learn Spanish or are learning and need help, it’s your lucky day, we are here to help you. In this post, we will explain indefinite articles in Spanish. Knowing how to use articles, whether speaking or writing, is of vital importance so that the people you are addressing can understand you. 

It is a well-known fact that in Spanish there are two types of articles: definite and indefinite articles. The article always goes next to a noun (except in proper names), and always carries the same gender and number as the noun. 

Definite articles (“el, la, los, las”): those articles determine that the word accompanied by them is known to speakers of a conversation (las llaves, la mesa, la caja), they accompany abstract nouns (el amor, la amistad, el odio) and they always go with the verb “gustar” (me gusta el chocolate). 

Indefinite articles 

  Singular  Plural 
Masculine Un Unos 
Feminine Una  Unas 

 

These articles determine that the word accompanied by them is not known to the speakers of the conversation. 

  • He visto un pájaro en mi ventana (I saw a bird on my window) 
  • He conocido a un chico en el metro (I met a guy in the subway) 
  • ¡He visto una ardilla en el jardín! (I saw a squirrel in the garden!) 
  • He comprado una botella de agua (I bought a bottle of water) 
  • ¿Has traído unos pasteles? (Did you bring any cakes?) 
  •  Hemos comido unas uvas en el jardín (We ate some grapes in the garden) 

As we can see in the examples above, we use indefinite articles to refer to things that we see, eat, do for the first time and that were not known to speakers before. 

  • ¡He visto una ardilla en el jardín! (I saw a squirrel in the garden!) – It means the speaker saw a squirrel for the first time and it was not known for him and for the person he is talking to. 
  • He conocido un chico en el metro (I met a guy in the subway) – It means they are talking about a guy that they didn’t know before. 

Also, as we can see in the examples above, the articles have the same gender and number as the noun they accompany. 

  • ¿Has traído unos pasteles? (Did you bring any cakes?) 

Pasteles – Masculine and plural  

Unos – Masculine and plural 

  • He comprado una botella de agua (I bought a bottle of water) 

Botella – Feminine and singular 

Una – Feminine and singular 

If we compare the definite articles with the indefinite articles, we can see their differences. 

  • ¡He visto una ardilla en el jardín! (I saw a squirrel in the garden!)  
  • ¡He visto a la ardilla en el jardín! (I saw the squirrel in the garden!) 

In the first sentence, the speaker does not know the squirrel, he sees it for the first time and communicates it to another person who does not know the squirrel either. Instead, in the second sentence, the speaker refers to a squirrel that he has seen before and that both speakers know. 

It is your lucky day, as you have found this website, keep searching and learning about this magnificent language and the wonderful people who speak it. If you are learning Spanish, visit our wonderful website where you will find a hundred interesting and useful posts for your learning.

Spanish indefinite articles

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Written by Ana Calero Castillo.

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