Using un, una to say a/an (singular indefinite articles)

Look at these examples.

Ana compra una planta.
Ana buys a plant.

Eso es un paraguas.
That is an umbrella.

Es un excelente actor.
He is an excellent actor.

¡Tengo una idea!
I have an idea!

Note that to express a/an + [singular noun] in Spanish, you use either un or una, depending on the gender of the noun it refers to, as follows:

una for feminine singular nouns
un for masculine singular nouns

You can never use uno, instead of un.

Tengo uno coche.

Tengo un coche.

Uno is not an article, but the actual number one, and it works as a pronoun. See also Using numbers as pronouns.
It is important to remember that in Spanish, like in all Latin languages, every noun is either masculine or feminine.
and Using los or las to say the (plural definite articles)

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Eso es un paraguas.
That is an umbrella.


Ana compra una planta.
Ana buys a plant.


Es un excelente actor.
He is an excellent actor.


¡Tengo una idea!
I have an idea!


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 5 answers

LarryA1Kwiziq community member

Words for car

I have seen three words for car: el carro, el automóvil, y el coche. How do I know which to use? Are these regional? I see a lot about Spanish in Spain vs North America.

Asked 1 month ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Larry

In Kwiziq we teach all grammar and vocabulary used in European Spanish. Our plan is to extend our content to Latin American Spanish as well. So, in Spain the common word for car is "coche" (el coche/un coche), in Latin America the common word for car is "el carro" or "el auto", and the word "el automóvil" is used everywhere but it is more formal. In terms of which is best or what to use is really up to you; they all are equally correct.

I hope this helps,

Saludos,

Inma

Words for car

I have seen three words for car: el carro, el automóvil, y el coche. How do I know which to use? Are these regional? I see a lot about Spanish in Spain vs North America.

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UndreaA0Kwiziq community member

Is it okay to say Está un excelente actor?

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Undrea

No. We use verb ser to talk about what someone does for a living/profession, so it should be:

"Es un excelente actor"

Saludos

 

UndreaA0Kwiziq community member

¡Gracias!

Is it okay to say Está un excelente actor?

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CaroleA1Kwiziq community member

So if I want to say that I only drive ONE car I would say Solo conduzco UNO coche?

Asked 1 year ago
SilviaKwiziq team member
¡Hola Carole! As the lesson says, we can never use "uno" in front of a noun, because in Spanish "uno" is always used as a pronoun. I have added an example to the lesson so that this is more clear, and you can also find a link to a lesson with numbers used as pronouns. I hope this helps you to understand better. ¡Gracias! Silvia.

So if I want to say that I only drive ONE car I would say Solo conduzco UNO coche?

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DiannaA0Kwiziq community member

ho do i get better

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq team member
What do you mean Dianna?

ho do i get better

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