Available on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

Transcript 1
Transcript 2
Quiz 1
Quiz 2

Emphatic value of indefinite articles

Mouse-over Spanish text fragments in red to see English translation
In some situations, the Spanish articles are used to emphasize certain words in a sentence.

1.- With exclamatory and suspension intonation, uno is used in statements of emphatic intent:

¡Hace un viento!
¡Dice unas cosas!

The melodic curve and suspension replace the term that would specify the nouns preceded by uno, as if we were saying:

Hace un viento insoportable. / ¡Hace un viento! ("un" implies "insoportable")
There's a outstanding wind.

Dice unas cosas divertidísimas. / ¡Dice unas cosas! ("unas" implies divertidísimas)
He says very funny things.

2.- The indefinite article is used before a specifying noun with an adjective or adjective clause:

Tiene una frescura inaudita.
He has an unprecedented nerve.

Tiene un genio que no hay quien lo aguante.
He has a very bad temper that makes him aggravating.

3.- Es todo un/es toda una + noun: indicates that the element we talk about possesses that characteristic in its highest value. This structure is not possible in the plural form.

Es todo un amigo.
*Son todos unos amigos (INCORRECT)
He is such a good friend.

Es toda una obra de arte.
*Son todas unas obras de arte. (INCORRECT)
It's such a great work of art.

4.- The indefinite article has an emphatic value in colloquial expressions introduced by the verbs ser / estar + the preposition de in exclamatory sentences with suspended intonation, or in sentences with the comparative particle que ... Sometimes an adjective follows the preposition de (always ending with an –o) or a noun: ¡Es de un cursi!
He's so tacky!

¡Es de un subido!
He's so cocky!

5.- By the elision of the quantifier, the indefinite article una forms an intensifying phrase together with the preposition de in exclamatory sentences with suspended intonation: ¡Dijo una de burradas!
He said too many crazy things!

¡Había una de gente!
There was too many people!