Writers Write is a comprehensive writing resource. In this post, we discuss if you should say ‘a’ hour on ‘an’ hour.
Should I Say ‘A’ Hour Or ‘An’ Hour?
When should I use ‘a’ and when should I use ‘an’?
You use ‘a’ before words that begin with consonants e.g., b, c, d. You use ‘an’ before words that begin with the five vowels – a, e, i, o, u.
However, the way you pronounce it and not the spelling, shows you which one you must use.
- You should say, ‘an hour’ (because hour begins with a vowel sound) and ‘a history’ (because history begins with a consonant sound).
- You should say ‘a union’ even if union begins with a ‘u’. This is because the pronunciation begins with ‘yu’, a consonant sound.
You need to understand if the abbreviation is pronounced as a single word or letter by letter.
- You say ‘a long playing-record’, but the abbreviation is ‘an LP’ (because ‘LP’ is pronounced ‘elpee’)
- You say ‘an MNET programme’ (because ‘MNET’ is pronounced ‘emnet’)
- You say ‘a NATO officer’ (because ‘NATO’ begins with a ‘ne’ sound)