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The indefinite article

The indefinite article in a does not have a paradigm of two or more overt forms. It may be absent or present. It does not distinguish between common or neuter gender, but it does distinguish between singular and plural, by its absence in the plural (except in some specific constructions). It also distinguishes between count nouns and non-count nouns, by its absence before non-count nouns. The following table summarises these facts:

Table 1
Singular, both genders Plural
Count nouns in a (in boek a book) - (boeken books)
Other - (wyn wine) - (not applicable)
As mentioned, the indefinite article is only present with count nouns, which may be due to its relation to the numeral ien one. The system of pronominal reference also distinguishes between count nouns en other nouns in that count nouns may be referred to by the third person singular masculine, regardless of their gender. The indefinite article has the function of introducing new information in the domain of discourse (function of the indefinite article). The indefinite article regularly combines with a noun and a verb to form idiomatic combinations (idiom formation and noun incorporation). Although the indefinite article does not normally occur with plural nouns, it may do so to express an exclamative reading (the indefinite article before a plural noun). Nouns may be elided following the indefinite article.


More details about the indefinitive article can be found following the corresponding links: