Indefinite articles

Indefinite articles are used with things and people that are not clearly defined.

A man crosses the street. <=> The man (with the hat) crosses the street.

It is clear and obvious that in the first sentence any man crosses the street. A guy that is not defined as someone certain or special. The second sentence defines the man as someone specific that distinguishs himself as the one with the hat.

The use is mostly the same as in English. Therefore just trust your intuition for the use of indefinite articles and you will be fine.

un gâteau (masculine)
a cake  
une voiture (feminine)
a car  

Indefinite articles

More examples
un cadeau a gift
un gâteau a cake
un cheval a horse
un livre a book
une cuillière a spoon
une fourchette a fork
une tête a head
une ville a city

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