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Thread: a and an

  1. bj1908

    a and an

    'a' is an article preceding a noun beginning with a consonant and 'an' a vowel.
    What about a noun beginning with a vowel (egg) is preceded by an adjective beginning with a consonant (big).
    Is it 'a big egg' or 'an big egg'?

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    Re: a and an

    It simply depends on the next phoneme after the article. If it sounds like a vowel, then use an. The letter doesn't even have to be a vowel: an hour

    So, the answer to your question is, of course, "a big egg."

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    Re: a and an

    Additionally, use "an" only if the next "sound" is a vowel, like this,

    a + egg => an egg
    ('e' is a vowel "sound")

    a + big egg => a big egg
    ('b' is not a vowel "sound")

    a + hour => an hour
    ('h' is not a vowel "sound", but it's not pronounced. It's silent. The letters that are pronounced are "ou". They are vowel "sounds", so "an" is used.

    a + long hour => a long hour
    ('l' is not a vowel "sound")

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