Article before "a pound / dollar / euro etc coin"?

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eyeball_tickler

Member
Japanese
How do you put "a" before "a pound coin" in a sentence?

I suppose something like
"I put a one-pound coin into a vending machine"
is the only way since "a a pound coin" seems just strange, but am I correct in this?

Also can you just omit the article and say
"I put a pound coin into a vending machine"...?
 
  • eyeball_tickler

    Member
    Japanese
    thanks for your quick reply!
    but when you say "a 50 cent coin", the "a" there is an article.
    so my point is, is "a pound coin" structurally different from "a 50 cent coin"...?
    if the "a" of "a pound coin" in the sentence above is an article, where is the part that corresponds to 50...?
    sorry, i can't make it any clearer, but hopefully im making sense...
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I suppose the article a in a pound coin is for coin rather than pound. You cannot have two articles together, and so the two options are what you have given: a pound coin or a one-pound coin.

    You can say a fifty-pence piece. If you want to replicate that pattern, then say a one-pound coin. When it's one it can be omitted: a one-penny piece or a penny piece.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Your problem appears to be with compound adjectives, not articles.

    A pound coin.
    A 50-cent coin.

    50-cent is a compound adjective, which might or might not be hyphenated.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Ah - I see the confusion. We do use, as nat says, "a pound coin" or "a one-pound coin" to describe the object. In the first, the a does not replace the one in the second phrase. The "one-" is simply omitted as redundant - the meaning is clear since the word "pound" is singular.
     

    eyeball_tickler

    Member
    Japanese
    ok, so summing up what you three said,
    in "I put a pound coin into a vending machine",
    what is omitted is a(one) as a number.

    but isn't it strange to put no number before a unit...?
    (isn’t it like saying “oh this only weighs kilogram”…?)

    does that possibly mean "a one-pound coin" is grammatically more accurate / theoretical in your opinion…?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    but isn't it strange to put no number before a unit...?
    (isn’t it like saying “oh this only weighs kilogram”…?)
    No.

    Here in the us, we often put a dollar bill or coin into a vending machine.

    Language is what we speak and write and when millions of educated, native speakers use an expression, that trumps any "rule" that somebody might contrive or think applies.

    What is wrong, however, is to fail to write English with upper-and lower-case letters as in your posts. :rolleyes:
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    In one-pound coin you are modifying a noun (coin) with a noun phrase (one pound). You could say this was a noun1 + noun2 compound. The rule in English is that noun1, if it contains an article when used on its own, will have it omitted here.

    For example, we talk about the US or the USA. If it modifies another noun, leave out the: hence 'I watched a US documentary', not 'I watched a the-US documentary'.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    ok, so summing up what you three said,
    in "I put a pound coin into a vending machine",
    what is omitted is a(one) as a number.

    but isn't it strange to put no number before a unit...?
    (isn’t it like saying “oh this only weighs kilogram”…?)

    does that possibly mean "a one-pound coin" is grammatically more accurate / theoretical in your opinion…?
    We use *either* a number or an article:
    This weighs a kilogram. :tick:
    This weighs one kilogram. :tick:
    This weighs kilogram:cross:
     

    eyeball_tickler

    Member
    Japanese
    Ohhhh, the noun1+2 explanation along with the US docmentary example is just perfect, natkretep!
    It's now cristal clear.
    Also thanks for clerifying the kilogram example, JS, very helpful indeed!
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    but isn't it strange to put no number before a unit...?
    (isn’t it like saying “oh this only weighs kilogram”…?)
    No, that would be like saying "This only costs pound", which we don't say.

    But just as you can say "a one-pound coin" or "a pound coin" (for the reasons that have been so well explained above), you can also say "a one-kilogram bag of onions" or "a kilogram bag of onions" (though in practice we'd be more likely to say "a kilo bag of onions"). Similarly for "a one-metre rule" or a "a metre rule", and so on.

    So no, it isn't necessarily strange to put no number before a unit.

    Ws
     
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