How Does "A" Translate Into Spanish?

The indefinite article a or an is translated by un before a masculine noun, una before a feminine noun:

  •  a car = un coche
  •  an actress = una actriz


Singular feminine nouns, however, that begin with a stressed or accented a or ha take the article un rather than una:

  •  an eagle = un águila
  •  a fairy = un hada


The article is not translated in the following cases:

With jobs and professions: 

  •  she’s a lawyer = es abogada
  •  he works as a waiter = trabaja de camarero


But the indefinite article is translated when there is a qualification:

  •  he’s a good dentist = es un buen dentista
  •  she is an excellent teacher = es una profesora excelente


After what a:

  •  what a shock! = ?qué susto!
  •  what a big dog! = ?qué perro más grande!


After such a:

  •  how could you do such a thing? = ?cómo pudiste hacer eso?
  •  I have never said such a thing = nunca he dicho tal cosa
  •  it’s such a bore = es tan aburrido


Before a certain when qualifying a subject noun:

  •  a certain man = cierto hombre


When expressing prices in relation to weight or length, the indefinite article is translated by el before a masculine noun or la before a feminine noun:

  •  it costs 2 dollars a pound/3 dollars a meter = cuesta 2 dólares la libra/3 dólares el metro


When a means per, there are various translations:

  •  twice a week = dos veces a la or por semana
  •  three times a day = tres veces al día
  •  50 miles an hour = 50 millas por hora

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