Friday, June 23, 2017

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A versus An
The is used to refer to specific or particular nouns;
a/an is used to modify non-specific or non-particular nouns.
If the first letter makes a vowel-type sound, you use "an"; if the first letter would make a consonant-type sound, you use "a." However, you may follow these basic rules when deciding to use "a" or "an," remembering that there are some exceptions to the rules.
Let's read the book," 
  • I mean a specific book. If I say, "Let's read a book,"
  •  I mean any book rather than a specific book.
Here's another way to explain it: 
The is used to refer to a specific or particular member of a group. 

For example,
 "I just saw the most popular movie of the year." 
  • There are many movies, but only one particular movie is the most popular. Therefore, we use the.
"A" and "an" signal that the noun modified is indefinite, referring to any member of a group. For example:

    "My daughter really wants a dog for Christmas." 
  • This refers to any dog. 
  • We don't know which dog because we haven't found the dog yet.

    "Somebody call a policeman!" 
  • This refers to any policeman. We don't need a specific policeman; we need any policeman who is available.

    "When I was at the zoo, I saw an elephant!" 
  • Here, we're talking about a single, non-specific thing, in this case an elephant. 
  • There are probably several elephants at the zoo, but there's only one we're talking about here.

A" goes before words that begin with consonants.

    a cat
    a dog
    a purple onion
    a buffalo
    a big apple

"An" goes before words that begin with vowels:

    an apricot
    an egg
    an Indian
    an orbit
    an uprising


Using a or an depends on the sound that begins the next word.


Use "an" before unsounded "h." Because the "h" hasn't any phonetic representation and has no audible sound, the sound that follows the article is a vowel; consequently, "an" is used.

    an honorable peace
    an honest error

When "u" makes the same sound as the "y" in "you," or "o" makes the same sound as "w" in "won," then a is used. The word-initial "y" sound ("unicorn") is actually a glide [j] phonetically, which has consonantal properties; consequently, it is treated as a consonant, requiring "a."

    a union
    a united front
    a unicorn
    a used napkin
    a U.S. ship
    a one-legged man

Information taken from: