When Do You Use A vs. An?

When Do You Use A vs. An?

There are all sorts of grammar rules out there. But, one of the most basic is determining when you should use the very first letter of the alphabet. Do you know when to use a vs. when you should use an?

Let’s break this one down!

A vs. an
The rule is: Use a before a word beginning with a vowel sound (not the letter). It doesn’t matter how the word is spelled. It just matters how it is pronounced. Use a before a word with a consonant sound as well as y and w sounds. Which means it is not unusual to find a before a word starting with a vowel or a before a word beginning with a consonant.

So, we say an MBA, an hour … but a BA, a horologist. You mean either a historical event or a historical event, according to whether you pronounce the h. If the h- is sounded (you make the β€œha” sound), then a is the proper form.

Now that you’ve got that figured out, are you ready to tackle effect vs. effect?

WATCH: Two Nerdy Steps To Take To Improve Your Vocabulary


6 thoughts on “When Do You Use A vs. An?”

  1. I was taught (this is going back years and years) easy way to remember. If word starts with a consonant use “a’ begins with a vowel use ‘an’. I enjoyed reading your post and learning another way to decide.

    1. Think about this. Most folk hardly read at all cause the English language has become complicated. There are so many stories out there that have never been written just cause expectations are so high to be perfect. Perhaps forget some of the rules to writing and enjoy the journey of storytelling in a simple form.

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