Use of "an" for a word not starting with a vowel

1

I've encountered this quite a few times now. I'm aware that usually words, starting with a vowel require an "an", words not starting with a vowel are preceded by an "a".

Sometimes words start with a consonant, but when spoken out loud, it sounds like a vowel, for instance an hour.

Is the use of "an" in this case correct due to the sound it would make when spoke out loud?

boolean.is.null

Posted 2016-04-05T14:35:52.277

Reputation: 135

Question was closed 2016-04-06T01:44:39.933

3

See this question, especially the accepted answer.

– Glorfindel – 2016-04-05T14:38:13.640

2

The accepted answer on this question explains it quite well, too.

– J.R. – 2016-04-05T15:09:36.403

Answers

2

Here is the rule:

Use AN before words such as "hour" which sound like they start with a vowel even if the first letter is a consonant. Also use AN before letters and numbers which sound like they begin with a vowel, such as "F" or "8". Remember, it is the sound not the spelling which is important. For example, "F" is pronounced "eff" like it starts with an "E".

Examples:

I only have an hour for lunch. Sounds like "au-er".

Does his name begin with an "F"? Sounds like "eff"

Use A before words such as "European" or "university" which sound like they start with a consonant even if the first letter is a vowel. Also use A before letters and numbers which sound like they begin with a consonant, such as "U", "J", "1" or "9". Remember, it is the sound not the spelling which is important. For example, "1" is spelled O-N-E; however, it is pronounced "won" like it starts with a "W".

Examples:

She has a euro. Sounds like "yu-ro".

That number is a "1". Sounds like "won".

Mia

Posted 2016-04-05T14:35:52.277

Reputation: 657

1Which consonant "European" start sounds like? – Joao Arruda – 2016-04-05T14:55:05.250

@JoaoArruda "European" sounds like it starts with the consonant sound of a "y". – Catija – 2016-04-05T14:58:46.707

2@JoaoArruda "Y", like "Your". (For added confusion, "Y" is sometimes a vowel... but not here.) – T.J.L. – 2016-04-05T14:58:47.970

I guess it goes with the accent in which the word is spoken, in the case of "European"... I can see the "Y" now that you mentioned, but I couldn't before because it's not how I say it – Joao Arruda – 2016-04-05T15:00:28.797

@Joao.I hope you will find these tips helpful. – Mia – 2016-04-05T15:03:55.073

1There's a childish joke that it sounds like "Your a-peein'". – Justin Young – 2016-04-05T17:32:09.917

@JustinYoung .Lol.!It can be used as a mnemonic! – Mia – 2016-04-05T17:35:50.163

1That should be "you're"...bad native speaker...shame on me. – Justin Young – 2016-04-05T22:59:12.653

@JustinYoung . :) – Mia – 2016-04-07T18:23:23.637