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Thread: 'a 1' vs 'an 1'

  1. Offroad's Avatar
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    #1

    Question 'a 1' vs 'an 1'

    Dear teachers,

    What is the correct form? While writing a letter I used 'a 1', knowing that before a vowel sound, 'an' should be used insted of 'a'.

    The Corpus of Contemporary American English gives over 1000 entries for 'a 1' and only a dozen for 'an 1'.

    Thank you

    Offroad

    -----

    EDIT: /wʌn/ = one
    Last edited by Offroad; 13-May-2013 at 15:10. Reason: Found the answer, apparently

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    #2

    Re: 'a 1' vs 'an 1'

    Is that a numeral one?

    It's "a one," not "an one." "One" starts with a consonant sound.

    When using the numeral, you would still expect it to be pronounced the same. So "a 1."

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: 'a 1' vs 'an 1'

    The word 'one' begins with the sound /w/. This semi-vowel/approximant is considered a consonant when it follows 'a/an' or 'the'.

  4. Offroad's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 'a 1' vs 'an 1'

    I am faster than you.

    Just kidding. Thank you very much!

  5. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #5

    Re: 'a 1' vs 'an 1'

    I'm slower, but I would also go with COCA- those numbers don't lie.

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: 'a 1' vs 'an 1'

    I expect the 'an one' hits in COCA are pretty old. 'An one' used to be right. It survives in some poetry. In The Pirates of Penzance Frederic sings

    To such an one, if such there be,
    I swear by all the stars above you,
    If you'll but cast your eyes on me
    However plain you be, I'll love you

    (precision of lyrics not guaranteed; remembered from two school productions 40-50 years ago. But the 'an one' is there )

    But we don't talk like that any more.

    b

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