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Sunday, May 29, 2011


When using "a" or "an," think about sounds, not letters!

Consonant Sound                                                 Vowel Sound

a hectic week (h sound)                                       an hour's delay (short o sound)
a uniform ( y sound)                                            an unusual sight (short u sound)
a mermaid (m sound)                                           an M and M (short e sound --
                                                                                        it's not a "mem," but "em")

*Formerly "an" was used with words like hotel and historical.  Since the "h" is not silent in these words, "a" is now more generally used.  Just remember to think of sounds.

Hope this helps explain the rule about "a" and "an."         

1 comment:

  1. Here again is a difference between the king's English and American English. They still drop a lot of those H sounds (or at least, "they" being certain dialects). And one we kept dropped, but they didn't: herb. I think. (?)