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  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Default difference between "A" and "An"

    My sons teacher asked him to define the differences
    between the words "A" and "An". They are so similar
    I'm not sure how to define it.....help please.

  2. #2
    jlinger is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: difference between "A" and "An"

    Their is no difference at all in their meaning.

    We use an before words that start with a vowel sound, and a when they start with a consonant sound. The reason is very simple: the consonant ending sound of n in an helps to distinguish the two words. Otherwise, the vowel sounds would run together. It is actually very difficult to say "a hour" - your tongue gets stuck in the back of your mouth. It's much easier to say "an hour" (aNOWer).

    Similarly, it is difficult for us to say "an ball" and very easy to say "a ball" (aball)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: difference between "A" and "An"

    Not a teacher.

    "A" comes before a consonant/consonant sound:

    A bird
    A kite
    A helicopter
    A horse

    "An" comes before a vowel/vowel sound:

    An ant
    An ostrich
    An elevator
    Depending on where you are from, you can say "an historical event" if you only pronounce the "i" (you pronounce the vowel sound) and not the "h." That's how we say it in California, but we would write it as "a historical event."

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