AA2TPEthe written abbreviation of amp or ampsaa /ə; strong eɪ/ ●●●S1W1 (also an) indefinite article, determiner1XXused to show that you are talking about someone or something that has not been mentioned before, or that your listener does not know aboutWe have a problem.There was a hole in the fence.Suddenly they heard a loud bang. →the12XXused to show that you are referring to a general type of person or thing and not a specific person or thingWould you like a sandwich?I want to train to be an engineer.He’s a really nice man.Take a look at this.It needs a good clean.3XXused before someone’s family name to show that they belong to that familyOne of his daughters had married a Rothschild.4XXonea thousand poundsa dozen eggsYou’ll have to wait an hour or two.5XXused in some phrases that say how much of something there isThere were a lot of people at the party.A few weeks from now I’ll be in Venice.You have caused a great deal of trouble.6XXused to mean ‘each’ when statingprices, rates, or speedsI get paid once a month.The eggs cost $2 a dozen.
7XXused before singularnouns to mean all things of a particular typeA square has four sides (=all squares have four sides).A child needs love and affection.8XXused once before two nouns that are mentioned together very oftenI’ll fetch you a cup and saucer.Does everyone have a knife and fork?9XXused before the -ing forms of verbs when they are used as nouns referring to an action, event, or soundThere was a beating of wings overhead.Bernice became aware of a humming that seemed to come from all around her.10XXused before nouns that are usually uncountable when other information about the quality, feeling etc is added by an adjective, phrase, or clauseCandidates must have a good knowledge of chemistry.11XXused before the name of a substance, food etc to refer to a particular type of itUse a good cheese to make the sauce.plants that grow well in a moist soil
12used before the name of a drink to refer to a cup or glass of that drinkCan I get you a coffee?Renwick went to the bar and ordered a beer.13XXused before the name of a famousartist to refer to a painting by that artistan early Rembrandt14XXused before a name to mean someone or something that has the same qualities as that person or thingShe was hailed as a new Marilyn Monroe.15XXused before someone’s name when you do not know who they areThere is a Mr Tom Wilkins on the phone.16XXused before the names of days, months, seasons, and events in the year to refer to a particular oneWe arrived in England on a cold wet Sunday in 1963.I can’t remember a Christmas like it.USAGE: A, an •Before a word beginning with a vowel sound, use an:an elephantan umbrellaan obvious mistake•Use an before an 'h' that is not pronounced:an hour lateran honest explanation•Use a before a 'u' that is pronounced like 'you':a universitya unique opportunity•Use an before an abbreviation that is pronounced with a vowel sound at the start:an SOS callan MP3 file
Examples from the Corpus
a lot• "How does your arm feel?" "It still hurtsa lot."• If you plan carefully, a trip to Europe doesn't have to costa lot.• It's nice to meet you. Wendy's talked about you a lot.• She goes abroad on business quite a lot.• An awful lot of his customers are unhappy with his work.• I'm really glad to meet you. Betty's talked a lot about you.• He laughed quite a lot as he spoke.• I like her a lot, but I don't think I'm in love with her.• I used to walka lot, but I've been very lazy recently.• I like the people a whole lot, but the pay isn't very good.• He really sweatsa lot in hotweather like this.• Ask Susan - she knows a lot more about computers than I do.• The tickets were a lot more expensive than we expected.• I'm sure she has a lot more problems than I have.• John has lived in a lot of different places.• All the same, it is a lot of fun, and the warm weather is very pleasant.• Stevie Wonder is a black artist, but a lot of his music comes out pop.• I went out with quite a lot of men before I met Stuart.• The Big Three are making a lot of noise in hopes of gaining a political and competitiveadvantage.• As with most coupes there is not a lot of room in the back, even kids find it tight.• But that is true of a lot of subjects I did at Olevel.• A lot of touristsvisitVenice in the summer.• The bookcontainsa lot of usefuladvice about setting up your own business.• Helen looks as if she's lost quite a lot of weight recently - is she on a diet?• He knows a lot of weird people over in Nam.• She's changed a lot since she's been here.• I was surprised so few people were at the concert - I thought there'd be a lot there.a-a-1 /ə/ prefix1XXin a particular condition or wayaloudalive (=living)with nerves all a-tingle (=tingling)2old use in, to, at, or on somethingabed (=in bed)afar (=far away)
Examples from the Corpus
a-• atopa-a-2 /eɪ, æ, ə/ prefixXXnot or withoutamoral (=not moral)atypically (=not typically)A*A* /ˌeɪ ˈstɑː $ -ˈstɑːr/ noun [countable, uncountable]the highest mark that a student can get in a GCSE examination