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An hour or a hour?

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

We know the rule, if a word starts with a vowel: a. e, i, o or u we use an in front of it.

If a word starts with a consonant, not a vowel, we us a in front of it.

For example:

an apple

a banana

an egg

a fish

However, as you have come to expect from the English language, there are exceptions.

"I went for a walk for an hour."

Why didn't I go for a walk for a hour?

This is because the 'h' in hour is silent and so when we say the word it sounds like 'our'.

Since 'our' begins with a vowel 'o' we use an.

"I went to a university in England."

Why didn't I go to an university?

Even though university begins with a vowel, 'u', it sounds like it begins with a consonant, y, and so we use 'a'.

This is also the case with other words such as European and uniform.

a European

a uniform

"I bought a one-way ticket to Paris."

Why didn't I buy an one-way ticket?

Although one starts with an 'o' when we say the word it sounds like it begins with a consonant, w, so we use 'a'.

Hopefully this blog post will have helped you to answer the following question.

Check your understanding:

Is it an umbrella or a umbrella?


an umbrella

Is it a orange or an orange?


an orange

Is it a yoghurt or an yoghurt?


a yoghurt

Is it a European or an European?


a European

Is it a university or an university?


a university

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