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When is the correct time to use a vs. an? A bike. An icicle. A URL or an URL? What exactly is the rule? Despite the confusion on when to use these two words, the rule regarding their use is actually quite simple.
Use 'an' when the first letter of the word, abbreviation or acronym starts with a vowel sound. Use 'a' when it starts with a consonant sound. The word sound is important. Some abbreviations that start with consonants start with vowel sounds (e.g., RTA, NTU) and vice versa.
The way we say the word will determine whether or not we use a or an. If the word begins with a vowel sound, you must use an. If it begins with a consonant sound, you must use a. For example, the word hour begins with the consonant h. But the h is silent, so the word has a vowel sound. Hence: an hour. The rule works the other way as well. Take ...
How to Use "A" and "An" Correctly. It can be a little confusing to figure out where the indefinite articles "A" and "An" are used. Here is the proper way to use them. Note to Reader: A and An rules may differ in different countries. These...
"A" and "an" are indefinite articles that precede nouns or the adjectives modifying nouns. In English grammar, "a" and "an" are determiners, meaning they specify the identity or quantity of something, and for both words, that quantity is "one"—the word from which they're derived.Really, the only thing that sets this pair apart is the pronunciation of the first sound of the word that follows ...
82 Responses to “Using “a” and “an” Before Words” Rohit on June 09, 2007 8:48 am. I never knew that the usage of ‘a’ and ‘an’ depends on pronunciation. And I really like your blog … keep up the good work. 🙂 Daniel on June 09, 2007 11:00 am. Thanks Rohit. In fact this is the first post answering “readers’ questions.”