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    #1

    a widower or an widower

    Before "widower", which one is right: a or an?

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a widower or an widower

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Cruge View Post
    Before "widower", which one is right: a or an?
    What do you know about the rules regarding when to use "a" or "an"? Which one do you think is correct and why?

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    #3

    Re: a widower or an widower

    A widower.

    An is used before words starting with Vowels (A, E, I, O, U) (albeit, exceptions exist such as an hour) .

    Otherwise, A is used.(again, exceptions prevail such as a university)

    Mainly, this distinction is decided by phonetics or pronunciation.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a widower or an widower

    Well, there you go Adam, you've been saved from trying to work it out for yourself by someone simply giving you the answer!!! Lucky you!

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    #5

    Re: a widower or an widower

    Quote Originally Posted by amirdhagopal View Post
    A widower.

    An is used before words starting with Vowels (A, E, I, O, U) (albeit, exceptions exist such as an hour) .

    Otherwise, A is used.(again, exceptions prevail such as a university)

    Mainly, this distinction is decided by phonetics or pronunciation.
    That's one method, but it doesn't explain the exceptions.

    The better rule is that "an" is used before a vowel sound, otherwise, "a" is used.
    "w" is a consonant sound, so "a" is used.
    ('Hour' and 'university' are not exceptions to this rule)

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    #6

    Re: a widower or an widower

    I know that for some people it's not obvious that "w" is a consonant. Maybe this article can help them: Voiced labio-velar approximant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia although it's written in a specialized language.

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    #7

    Re: a widower or an widower

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I know that for some people it's not obvious that "w" is a consonant. Maybe this article can help them: Voiced labio-velar approximant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia although it's written in a specialized language.
    When you say it's not obvious that "w" is a consonant, are you referring to the letter or the sound?

    As far as the actual letters are concerned, it's very simple. There are only five vowels: a, e, i, o, u. All other letters are consonants.

    I do understand that sometimes beginners have trouble recognising a vowel sound, though.

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    #8

    Re: a widower or an widower

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    When you say it's not obvious that "w" is a consonant, are you referring to the letter or the sound?

    As far as the actual letters are concerned, it's very simple. There are only five vowels: a, e, i, o, u. All other letters are consonants.

    I do understand that sometimes beginners have trouble recognising a vowel sound, though.
    I am talking about a sound - the sound the article is about. I've never heard anybody talking about letters as consonants, but that's maybe because it doesn't make so much difference in Polish.

    There are also other consonants that can cause problems, in English it's also the Palatal approximant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    In general, they are called semivowels (Semivowel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and approximants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approximant_consonant)
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 23-Jul-2010 at 12:19. Reason: typo

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