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    #1

    A & An

    Hello...
    Today I did two quizzes in this website about A and An. Here I got a problem, will you help me?

    1- ....... open door: I used A for this one but the answer was An; why it should be An? I think we're speaking about "door". But in the same quizz there was another question that was: ...... one-day course, and choose A and it was correct. I don't understand the difference.

    2- ........ euphemism: I used An, but the correct answer was A. Why? As I learned that An is used for the words starting with "a, e, i, o, u"; so why here An is not used.

    Many thanks for your answer!

    Marjantaj

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A & An

    Hello,
    You choose "a" or "an" based on the SOUND of the next word, not the letter.

    1a. Open. Open starts with an "oh" sound, which is a vowel sound. An open door.
    1b. One-day. One starts with a "wuh" sound, which is a consonant sound. A one-day course.
    2. Euphemism. That starts with a "yoo" sound, which is a consonant sound. A euphemism.

    Right now, I can't think of any words that start with A or I that start with a consonant sound, but E, O, and U both have a vowel sound and a consonant sound.
    An elegy.
    A eulogy.

    An opossum.
    A one-time thing.

    An umbrella.
    A university.

    To summarize, consider how it sounds, not how it is spelled.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: A & An

    1. An open door. A door which is open.
    2. A euphemism. This is pronounced with a "y" sound at the beginning. "y" is a consonant.

    Does that help you to understand?
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #4

    Re: A & An

    An exists to avoid having to say two vowels in a row, which is awkward. So, any time the word following a is pronounced with a vowel at the beginning, you replace a with an.

    A 100-year flood ("ay wun....")
    An 11-day illness ("an ehlehv'n...")
    An idiom
    A euphemism

    Etc.

    Some American dialects don't use an very often, so you may hear things like a eleven year-old ​on TV or in films. This is nonstandard usage.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. kilroy65's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: A & An

    In addition to the previous comments, I've noticed that ESL students always get especially confused about these three examples:

    - an MP3 player
    - an hour
    - a year

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    #6

    Re: A & An

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    You choose "a" or "an" based on the SOUND of the next word, not the letter.
    This is important as some learners think only of the noun, but when the article is followed by an adjective, it is the adjective's first sound that is important, not the noun's.

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    #7

    Re: A & An

    Dear Barb_D,
    Thanks a million for your explanation. Now I surley understand how A or An work.

    I'm sure you're a good teacher.

    Thanks again!

    Marjantaj

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    #8

    Re: A & An

    Dear Kilroy65,
    The problem is because teachers in the collage never spend more times for the students, they just want to teach the lesson and then having their coffee.
    This website is better than any other collages.
    I'm really thankful for your help.

    Marjantaj

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: A & An

    Thanks a million for your explanation. Now I surley understand how "a" or and An "an" work.
    I have deleted "surley" - it was misspelt (it should be "surely") but, even if you had spelt it correctly, it would have been unnecessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by marjantaj View Post
    Dear Kilroy65,
    The problem is because that the teachers in the college never spend more enough times time for with the students; they just want to teach the lesson and then having have their coffee.
    This website is better than any other colleges.
    I'm really thankful for your help.

    Marjantaj
    See my corrections above, marked in red.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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