- [[t]ə[/t]] when stressed [[t]eɪ[/t]]indefinite article1) fun (used before a singular noun not referring to any specific member of a class or group or referring to a member not previously mentioned):We need a new car. I spoke to a doctor[/ex]2) any; every:A dog has four legs[/ex]3) fun one:a hundred years; a dozen eggs; a yard of fabric[/ex]4) fun (used indefinitely with certain quantifiers):a great many years; a few stars[/ex]5) the same:two at a time[/ex]6) a single portion, unit, type, or instance of:two coffees and a tea[/ex]7) fun a certain; a particular:A Mr. Johnson called[/ex]8) fun another; one resembling:a Cicero in eloquence[/ex]9) a work by:a Van Gogh[/ex]10) fun any; a single:not a one[/ex]•Etymology: ME; orig. preconsonantal phonetic var. of an I usage: In both spoken and written English a is used before words beginning with a consonant sound (a book), an before words beginning with a vowel sound (an apple). Words that start with vowel letters but are pronounced with the consonant sound (y) or (w) are preceded by a: a union; a European; a one-room apartment. The names of the consonant letters f, h, l, m, n, r, s, and x begin with a vowel sound and thus are preceded by an: an F in geometry; to fly an SST. The names of all other consonants and of the vowel u take a: a B in Spanish; a U-turn. Words that begin with the letter h sometimes cause confusion. When the h is not pronounced, the word is preceded by an: an hour. When h is pronounced, the word is preceded by a: a history of the Sioux; a hero sandwich. (Formerly, an was used before pronounced h: an hundred.) Usage is divided, however, with such words as historian, historical, heroic, and habitual, which begin with an unstressed syllable in which h may be weak or silent. The use of a is widespread in both speech and writing (a historian of ancient China; a habitual criminal), but an is also common. Hotel and unique are occasionally preceded by an, but this use is regarded as old-fashioned. IIa[[t]ə[/t]] when stressed [[t]eɪ[/t]] prep.use for or in each; for or in every; per:ten cents a ride; three times a day[/ex]•Etymology: orig. ME a, preconsonantal var. of on (see a- I); confused with a I usage: See per IIIa[[t]ə[/t]] prep.Pron. Spelling. of (often written as part of a single word, without a hyphen):the time a day; kinda; sorta[/ex]•Etymology: ME IVa[[t]ə[/t]] aux. v.fun Pron. Spelling. have (often written as part of a single, unhyphenated word):We shoulda gone[/ex]•Etymology: ME Vwam are (unit of measurement)
From formal English to slang. 2014.