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Thread: use of a or an

    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 1

    use of a or an

    Can you tell me when you use a or an?
    My boss used "a" in front of the abbreviation HR( Human Resources) in a memo and I said it should be "an". Comments?

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: use of a or an

    Welcome, dwilkinson.

    The rule is about pronunciation--sound:

    "a" before consonant sounds
    e.g., a USA tape, [ju:]
    (the sound [j] = y, a glide, a non-vowel)

    The letters <U, u> (in USA) look like vowels but they are pronounced with a consonant sound, [j] as in yellow.

    "an" before vowel sounds
    e.g., an HR memo [ei]
    (the sound [ei] as in hay, a vowel sound)

    The letters <H, h> (in HR) look like consonants but they are pronounced with a vowel sound, [ei] as in hay.

    Does that help?
    Last edited by Casiopea; 01-Jun-2007 at 15:09.


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