Sunday, October 5, 2008

44. Is It A or AN, Mr. Anchorman?

Hello, again, Everybody. It's good to have you back, ready to tackle some more grammar problems. Today's lesson is such a simple one that you should be able to master it in no time at all.

Have you ever heard anyone make a mistake like the following?

" Judy wrote her friend a thank-you note expressing appreciation for AN unique gift."


" Lillian has AN one-year subscription to People magazine."

If so, you are in good company, since it seems that lots of folks learned this rule ...but only part of it.

Here's the rule: "A" is used before consonant SOUNDS and "AN" is used before vowel SOUNDS without any regard for whether the letter is a consonant or vowel.

Did you remember all of this rule...especially the part about SOUNDS?

It appears that what most people do is interpret the rule this way: "A" precedes all consonants and "AN" precedes all vowels. Not so! As with so many other rules, there are exceptions and here they are:

We seem to find more problems with words that begin with "H" ( a consonant letter), "U" (a vowel letter) and "O" (another vowel letter.)

"H" is silent at the beginning of just a few words: hour, honest, herbal . When this happens, "AN" precedes the word: an hour, an honest man, an herbal cup of tea,etc. When "H" is not silent, "A" precedes the word: a history book, a historical figure, a hurricane, etc.

"AN" is also used when the word following the article is a short "U" as seen in these words: an uncle, an umbrella, and an undertaker. Notice that even though these three words begin with the vowel "U", they don't sound like a long "U" . Therefore, we must classify them as an exception to the rule for another reason.

"A" is also used before words that have a "yew" or long "A" sound: a eulogy, a Utah student, a university, etc. Therefore, even though the examples here begin with a vowel, the correct word to use is "A", not "AN" because eulogy, Utah, and university begin with a "yew" or long "A" sound.

...And that's all there is to it. Pretty easy, huh? I hope this makes sense to you! I'm signing off for another day, wishing the very best to all. Thanks for the continued comments and suggestions for new lessons. I love hearing from you! Peace, happiness, and laughter, GG


Sudam said...

Good resources on fundamental use of article.

Grammar Guide said...

Thanks for commenting. Have a great day! GG

muebles said...

This can't have effect in actual fact, that's exactly what I believe.

Anonymous said...

burberry sale xlypvqym burberry outlet crfazywr burberry bags aeppavne burberry handbags yhosoyrm

Anonymous said...

I actually wanted to write down a message to be able to express gratitude
to you for those pleasant tips you are writing at this website.
My time consuming internet look up has at the end been compensated with
sensible concept to write about with my partners.
I 'd claim that many of us site visitors are unquestionably lucky to be in a very good community with so many awesome professionals with helpful tactics. I feel quite lucky to have discovered your website page and look forward to some more brilliant times reading here. Thank you once again for everything.

Also visit my blog post; Slet verhalen

Blogger said...

If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (even if they're dating somebody else now) you gotta watch this video
right away...

(VIDEO) Get your ex CRAWLING back to you...?