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3.6 Year 3: W - use of the forms a or an according to whether the next word begins with a consonant or vowel

image of 3.6 Year 3: W - use of the forms a or an according to whether the next word begins with a consonant or vowel
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This resource is part of our grammar curriculum
Real Grammar
  • Covers every objective for years 1-6
  • Five-step sequence ensures deep understanding
  • Includes asssessment and revision tools

This Real Grammar resources pack provides everything that you need to explore whether the form of ‘a’ or ‘an’ should be used before words. Teaching slides, worksheets, games and an opportunity to apply the new learning in a writing task are all included to create a complete KS2 resource to teach whether ‘a’ or ‘an’ should be used. Pupils will need to be familiar with consonants and vowels.

Noun phrases are also referred to in the resource pack (first introduced in Year 2). A Real Writing resource pack on noun phrases is available for Year 2.

What word class are ‘a’ and ‘an’?

The words ‘a’ and ‘an’ are articles, which are a type of determiner. Determiners are words that are used before a noun to specify it. Other examples of determiners include the, my, some, my or every.

When do we use ‘a’ and ‘an’?

The use of ‘a’ or ‘an’ is determined by the first letter of the word it comes before. If the word begins with a vowel, then ‘an’ is used. If it begins with a consonant, then ‘a’ is used.

The exception is when the word begins with the letter ‘u’ where it is making the /yoo/ sound, for example unicorn or useful.

  • a hat
  • a cat

  • an umbrella
  • an eagle

When using an expanded noun phrase, the article that is used is determined by the word immediately after it. If adjectives are used, then it is the adjective that should be looked at.

  • a hat
  • an old hat
  • an eagle
  • a majestic eagle

What resources are included in this pack?

This pack is divided into five parts:


This section includes PowerPoint teaching slides and teaching notes with an optional script to introduce the use of ‘a’ and ‘an’. It can also be used to revisit this aspect of grammar with pupils.


An independent activity for pupils to practise using what they have been taught, allowing teachers to assess understanding.


A series of short, 10-minute activities that can be used following the TEACH session to revisit and rehearse what has been taught. These may be short writing tasks, grammar games or editing/proofreading activities.


A short writing task where pupils can use the grammar skills taught in context to produce independent writing.


Five SATs style test questions, including cloze activities and multiple choice quiz questions, based on the grammar that has been taught.

Teachers can choose which section of the resource pack to use according to their pupils’ needs and could use the activities over a series of lessons or weeks

Teacher notes are provided to show how these quality resources could be used with pupils.

How is this resource pack differentiated?

The PRACTISE and REVISE sections include three activities differentiated for three levels of ability:

  • Worksheet 1 for pupils who may need support. Questions will have a lower cognitive domain (what is being asked of pupils) and/or vocabulary used may be simplified where possible.
  • Worksheet 2 for pupils working at age related expectations.
  • Worksheet 3 for pupils who may need an additional challenge and may be working at a greater depth in this area. Questions will have a higher cognitive domain with more challenging vocabulary.

SUPPORT and CHALLENGE ideas are also included in the teacher notes of each section where relevant, with ideas of how to support pupils working towards the expected standard or at greater depth in this area.

What pupil-facing resources are included?


    PPT slides; model text ‘I didn’t see…’


    Practise 1, Practise 2 and Practise 3 worksheets


    Game 1 and game 2 cards


    Collecting ideas worksheet, writing scaffold


    PPT slides; Revise 1, Revise 2 and Revise 3 worksheets

Answer sheets for all worksheets are provided, where appropriate.

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