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Using A and AN

Do you get confused on how to use the a and the an ? Here are a few simple rules....

A and an are used with singular nouns and are the equivalent of saying "one".

For example:

There was a book on the table. (One book)

Because they are for one item, we don't use them for plural nouns.

There were books on the table. (Several books)

We use the a before a consonant sound and an before a vowel sound.

You see it's the pronunciation of the noun not the spelling that's important.

So, as MP (Member of Parliament) is pronounced "em.pee" we use an because the "em" is a vowel sound.

When the "h" is silent at the beginning of

a word then an is used. If you pronounce the "h" then use a.

If a word starts in "u" and is pronounced like "you" we use a, otherwise it's an.

a coin

an MP

an hour

a unicorn

a pen

an orange

a hat

an umbrella

Another use of a and an is to express what someone or something is or what job a person does.

Don't forget - still only used in the singular, not the plural.

It's an orange.

They're oranges.

She's a farmer.

They're farmers.

He worked as a taxi driver.

They worked as taxi drivers.

Right, now it's your turn, what do you think, A or AN ?

Oh, and by the way, a and an are called indefinite articles!


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