A or an

As a general rule, use “A” when the following word starts with a consonant, and “an” when it starts with a vowel.


A man

A woman

A bus

An elephant

An octopus

There are exceptions. Some consonants have a vowel sound and are preceded by ‘an’:


An hour

An honor

An herb


Some vowel-starting words have a “y” or “w’ sound and are preceded by ‘a’:

A Utopian ideal

A one-time event

In summary, it is the sound of the word following the article that determines which to use, rather than the actual letter.


An abbreviation is a form of shorthand, enabling readers to understand the meaning of a word or phrase without needing to see it written out in full. Abbreviations may take the form of letters to represent ...

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