When to use “A” vs “AN”

Articles are an important part of English Grammar. An article is a word that we use to modify the noun.

What is a noun?

A noun is a person, a place, an object, a thing or an idea. Nouns are split into common nouns such as words for animals, places, things, or people:

  1. doctor
  2. horse
  3. beach
  4. car

Proper nouns are names we use for particular places, people or things:

  1. John
  2. China
  3. Hollywood
  4. Mount Everest

(They’ll always start with a capital letter)

What is an article?

An article is an adjective used before a noun. Normally we use adjectives to describe a noun, but an article is used to refer directly to the noun.

When to use A

A is an indefinite article, which means we use it to refer to a general noun rather than a specific item. We use A when before a single noun when the first letter of the noun is a consonant:

  • A book
  • A car
  • A dog
  • A flag
  • A giraffe

When to use An

An is an indefinite article, which means we use it to refer to a general noun rather than a specific item. We use An when before a single noun when the first letter of the noun is a vowel:

  • An apple
  • An elephant
  • An igloo
  • An octopus
  • An umbrella

Exceptions A vs AN

There are a few exceptions to the general rules.

For example, in some words where we use a consonant as a first letter which has a vowel sound, we then use An:

  • An hour
  • An honor

And in reverse, in some words where we use a vowel as a first letter which has a consonant sound, we then use A:

  • A United States citizen
  • A university

This also happens with any acronyms:

  • An LCD screen
  • A ULR

Conclusion

So the most important thing to remember in A vs AN is the first sound of the following noun. If the noun starts with a consonant sound, use A. If a noun starts with a vowel sound, use An.

Quote – Learning makes a person

Learning makes a person a fit companion for themself.

— Proverb

Mastery – Success Equals Preparation

While flipping through some old papers the day I  saw this maxim scribbled down on a piece of paper. This maxim has proven true for many.  there is a high likelihood that folks with a military background have heard it somewhere along the way.

Success Maxim

Success equals preparation meeting opportunity.

This concept is, also sometimes said as:

Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Poetry – The Pavement Artist

Poetry - The Pavement Artist
The Pavement Artist

I THINK that I should like to be
A pavement artist best,
For he has every kind of chalk
Spread in a cosy nest.

I have ten pieces in a box,
Black, yellow, white and blue,
Pink, red, brown, orange, grey and green,
But these are far too few.

— Compton Mackenzie

Poetry – December

Tis done! Dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o’er the conquered year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold fond man!
See here thy pictured life: pass some few years,
Thy flowering spring, thy summer’s ardent strength,
Thy sober autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding winter comes at last.

— George Thompson Hutchinson

Quote – A Book Is Best Understood

A Book Is Best Understood

A book is meant to be read from beginning to end but it’s best understood from end to beginning

Winston Church