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    #1

    When to use 'an' and 'a'

    I was reading the news on Yahoo today and came across this sentence which I felt was wrong,'The jury also heard the tape from an police interview(...)'. I would use 'a' instead of 'an' for example 'a police interview' or 'an interview by the police'. I've always believed 'a' is always used before words that don't start with vowels and 'an' for words that start with vowels, take for example ' an apple, an African, an argument, an affection...' and not 'an baby, an policeman, an book' but ' a person, a yoyo, a joy' etc. Are there any exceptions perhaps?
    Last edited by Agnes; 26-Jan-2007 at 10:07. Reason: Spelling corrections

  1. Dany's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    I guess it was just a typing error. "... a police interview" is correct

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    #3

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    Phew! thanks!!

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    #4

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnes View Post
    ... Are there any exceptions perhaps?
    It depends how you word the rule. If you just say 'an before a vowel', then words that start with a semi-vowel (like 'uniform') are exceptions. If instead you remember the rule as 'an before a vowel sound', then I can't think of any.

    b

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    #5

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    Oh yes, words like 'yellow, yak...'Then there ARE exceptions, thank you!

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    #6

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    It is based on sound:
    an egg/ a European
    an orange/ a one-day event
    an umbrella/ a university
    I think all words beginning with y take a, though someone will probably come up with an exception.

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    #7

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It is based on sound:
    an egg/ a European
    an orange/ a one-day event
    an umbrella/ a university
    I think all words beginning with y take a, though someone will probably come up with an exception.
    Here's one: I don't know what sort of element yttrium is, but I imagine one could have 'an yttrium bar' (or some other appropriate noun - coating? [if it's a dust] cloud? [if it's a gas] bath? [if its a liquid]...) I'm not sure, though, whether yttrium exists outside the laboratory, except of course in the dictionary.

    b

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    #8

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Here's one: I don't know what sort of element yttrium is, but I imagine one could have 'an yttrium bar' (or some other appropriate noun - coating? [if it's a dust] cloud? [if it's a gas] bath? [if its a liquid]...) I'm not sure, though, whether yttrium exists outside the laboratory, except of course in the dictionary.
    b

    Yttrium is a transition metal.

    Chemical Elements.com - Yttrium (Y)
    Last edited by queenbu; 28-Jan-2007 at 00:09.

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    #9

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    'an yttrium compound'

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    #10

    Re: When to use 'an' and 'a'

    In a Malaysian forest, you might smell an ylang-ylang.

    In an alternative universe, you might see an Yggdrasil.

    In Marks and Spencers, you might refuse to buy underwear with an ypsiliform design.

    MrP

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