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A versus An

Posted by Wendy Wood on 17th December , 2019 in Grammar
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I know it must be tough living with a proofreader.

My husband and I have been married for more than 29 years. I love him dearly. But every night I cringe when I hear him tell Siri, “Set a alarm for 5:30 a.m.”

So, honey, here’s what I’ve been meaning to tell you about the use of a and an.


A: Indefinite article, use before nouns with consonant sounds (a dog, a cat, a lamp)

An: Indefinite article, use before nouns with vowel sounds (an honour, an hour, an overview, an alarm).


Remember, though, pronunciation rather than spelling is the key: for example, you would use an before words like hour and honour because the initial h is not pronounced, while words like union and user take a because they are pronounced as if beginning with an initial y consonant.

Wendy Wood, proofreader.


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