Grammar-QuizzesNoun PhrasesDeterminersArticles › A – One in Particular

A – One in Particular

Refer to a noun as an introduction to it

Hale-Bopp comet


A – Unspecific (any one) vs. A – Specific (particular one)


When referring to an item the first time, the article a is used before a noun. The article is changed to the on second mention.

A comet was seen in the western sky last night. (first mention)

The comet was believed to be Hale-Bopp. (second mention)

The comet has a spectacular, bright tail. (second mention)



When speaking in general, mentioning characterics of a particular item, the article a is used before a noun. "This is true for any like it."

A comet appears to have a tail as it streaks through the sky.

A comet also has a dense head.

If you look up in the sky, you might see a comet.


Astronomy and Space Resource







Practice 1

A Particular One or Any One?

a black hole


Any one or a particular one?

  1. Select your response.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.


A black hole is an object, typically a collapsed star whose gravity is so strong that its escape velocity exceeds the speed of light. Since nothing is known to exceed the speed of light, nothing can escape from a black hole.

A black hole

A planet was later discovered farther out in the solar system. The planet, Jupiter, named after the Roman god, was the largest of all.

A planet






Practice 2

Any One or a Particular One ?

a comet



A particular one (specific) or any one (unspecific)?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.


People did not always know what a comet was. In ancient times, people thought comets were "power rays" of super- natural beings.


They thought a comet contained fire because they are so bright in the sky.


Some people in ancient times thought that a comet was a curse. To save himself from "the curse of the comet", Emperor Nero of Rome has all possible successors to the throne executed.


In 1910, people panicked when a comet passed through Earth's path around the Sun.


In Chicago, people sealed their windows to protect themselves from a comet that they believed had a poisonous tail. Others committed suicide. Special "comet protecting umbrellas", gas masks, and "anti-comet pills" were sold.


Not everyone saw a comet as bad luck. Some thought a comet brought good luck.


They also believed that a comet carried angels through the heavens.



Amazing Space: Online Explorations (NASA) 
"Comets Facts, Myths and Legends" Amazing Space, 2011,







Hands-on Activities

A — one in particular



Person A:  Put several items on a tray. Identify the items. "I have a tray with a glass, some chips, a phone, some tissues, some lipstick, a receipt from a store, a business card, and a set of keys"  Cover the tray with a cloth or remove the tray.

Person B: Remember the items on the tray.  identify the items and use the correct article.. (collective, mass, count nouns)  There was a glass, some chips / a bag of chips, a (mobile / cell) phone, some tissues (a pack of  tissues), some lipstick (a tube of lipstick / some makeup) , a store receipt, a business card, and a set of keys (some keys)"



Product Review.  Introduce five outstanding features of  an item , for example, a garment (jacket, belt, jeans, boots) , an electronic device, a food item, etc. "This is an excellent coat with a strong zipper, an inner pocket for a wallet, extra-long sleeves, a hood, and a small pocket for a key. I would give it a four-star rating."



In the Newspaper.  Find some interesting headlines in a newspaper.  "Speeding Toddler Hits Car", "Children in Chimney Collapse Taken by Helicopter to Hospital", " Pizza Deliveryman Stops Robber with Hot Pizza", "Student Found after Five-Hour Nap on School Bus".

On Television: Expand the newspaper headline into a complete sentence as if reporting the event. A  speeding toddler hit a parked car. (A toddler in a stroller rolled down a hill and hit a parked car.)  Some children who were injured by a collapsing (faling) chimney were taken in a helicopter to a hospital. A pizza deliveryman stopped a robber with (by throwing) a hot pizza in his face.  A student was found after taking a five-hour nap in the back of a school bus.