Why "a user" instead of "an user"?



I am getting confused while using an article an. Because an is used while referring to vowels (a,e,i,o,u).

But today I read an article where for user they used a user.

My question is, why was an not used?

Could someone explain this with an example?


Posted 2014-06-26T13:35:53.797

Reputation: 245

Question was closed 2014-06-26T16:37:12.737

Because humans are nog logical – Roel – 2017-05-16T08:42:52.137

12It's based on vowel sounds, not vowel letters. – snailplane – 2014-06-26T13:48:44.247

1@snailplane - exactly! This should be an answer. This is why you get 'a user', but 'an hour'. – michelle – 2014-06-26T13:51:38.803


@Stephen Welcome to ELL. It's based on sounds as snailplane suggested above. Please find more information in the link I suggested above. See also: http://english.blogoverflow.com/2011/11/articles-a-vs-an/, http://ell.stackexchange.com/q/6760/3281.

– Damkerng T. – 2014-06-26T13:59:28.500


To those who are voting to close this question as a duplicate of the "an hour" question: I think this question is sufficiently distinct. For one, it's in the opposite sense. Furthermore, an English learner may not be aware that the pronunciation of "user" starts with a /j/ sound. (In fact, in some obscure legal usage, it doesn't!)

– 200_success – 2014-06-26T16:14:13.553

1@snailplane Thank you for your answer.firstly you are the one answered me in comment.But It could be good if you post as an answer. – Steve – 2014-06-26T16:43:03.803

Sorry, I posted it as a comment because I voted to close, and of course it's nonsensical to both answer a question and vote to close. – snailplane – 2014-06-26T23:17:22.370

@snailplane its ok.be happy :) – Steve – 2014-06-27T11:44:44.423



The choice of a or an is made based on pronunciation, not spelling. The only reason the word an exists is because a followed by another vowel is awkward to pronounce.

Since user is pronounced /ˈjuːzə/, starting with a consonant "y" sound, the article a is appropriate, and an is not.


Posted 2014-06-26T13:35:53.797

Reputation: 7 829

4Correct, but the second sentence is misleading: it may suggest to those who don't know the history that the n is intrusive, where in fact the form with n is older. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-06-26T14:51:08.443

1nice explanation.now I understood it clearly.Thank you:) – Steve – 2014-06-26T16:39:52.870