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    • Join Date: Jan 2009
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    #1

    a/an

    I'm sorry to give many questions.
    Some noun need 'a', but some need 'an'.
    For example: a hotel, a university, an hour, an one-off pen
    I'd like to know what's the rule of this.
    I know we use an before a,e,i,o,u.
    Thank you very much if you help me.


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
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    #2

    Re: a/an

    Make the sound of a word with your voice before you decide between a and an.

    A juniversity
    an auor (hour)

    Is the first sound (not letter) of the given word a consonant or a wovel?

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      • Native Language:
      • Burmese
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      • Myanmar
      • Current Location:
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    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    #3

    Re: a/an

    Quote Originally Posted by soemoe View Post
    I'm sorry to give many questions.
    Some noun need 'a', but some need 'an'.
    For example: a hotel, a university, an hour, an one-off pen
    I'd like to know what's the rule of this.
    I know we use an before a,e,i,o,u.
    Thank you very much if you help me.
    Welcom to the forum.
    Happy to see you here.
    How to use a/an depends on the first sound of a word.
    A is used before words beginning with a vowel sound ,e.g an hour, an egg, an umbrella etc.
    An is used before words beginning with a consonant sound, e.g a university, a boy, a girl etc.
    Hope that help you.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 484
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    #4

    Re: a/an

    Yes, so, as the two previous contributors say: it's not what the word looks like on the page, it's what it sounds like.

    So you wouldn't say an one-off pen, you'd say a one-off pen (whatever that means) because one sounds like won; in other words the vowel "o" sounds likea consonant here.

    And you'd say an MP (member of parliament) because the "m" here is pronounced "em", as though it began with a vowel.

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