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I learned from my teacher that indefinite articles (un, una) are used only before modified nouns, that is nouns followed by adjectives.

Does this apply to definite articles (el, la)?

Another situation is when you use "llegar a ser" in place of just ser. This is when you don't have to use indefinite article.

  • I think you mean in your question that your teacher told you that the indefinite article doesn't normally come after the verb ser for unmodified nouns. That'll greatly change the answers you get. – user0721090601 Oct 29 '14 at 15:10
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indefinite articles (un, una) are used only before modified nouns, that is nouns followed by adjectives.

I think that this is not true.

A modified noun with "una":

una casa roja
(=a red house)

An unmodified noun with "una":

una casa 
(=a house)

Both sentences are perfectly valid in Spanish. And, regarding modified and unmodified nouns, definite articles behave like indefinite ones, there is no difference:

A modified noun with "la":

la casa roja 
(=the red house)

An unmodified noun with "la":

la casa 
(=the house)
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  • Sorry I got not enough pts to vote up. – user11355 Oct 29 '14 at 19:56
  • It does not matter... :) You can mark it as accepted – Rocío García Luque Oct 30 '14 at 14:58
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I'm not a language teacher nor a linguist but I think your teacher is wrong or you missunderstood something.

I've seen a dog

He visto un perro

Perro is not a modified noun (appart from being indefinite) there but it is not a particular dog so we use indefinite article.

I've seen the (same than last week) dog

He visto el perro

For the second situation you mention, I don't understand your question, sorry. But I can say that llegar a ser (that is, become) accepts both definite and indefinite direct objects:

I've become the best lawyer of New York

He llegado a ser el mejor abogado de Nueva York.

I've become a good lawyer at New York.

He llegado a ser un buen abogado en Nueva York.

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  • Can you address llegar a ser? Thanks – user11355 Oct 29 '14 at 19:56
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indefinite articles (un, una) are used only before modified nouns, that is nouns followed by adjectives.

False.

The usage, as well as the difference in usage, of definite and indefinite articles has no dependency on whether or not the following word is a modified noun or a noun. They're both the same thing, a noun.

'Modified Noun` is itself, a modified noun.

Still, it is a noun at the end of the day.

Definite articles, like el and la , are used to define a particular object or subject. It conveys singularity, while the indefinite articles: un and una suggest there are more than one of this subject/object.

These rules are exactly the same in English.

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