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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?

answer

an umbrella

Is it a orange or an orange?

answer

an orange


Is it a yoghurt or an yoghurt?

answer

a yoghurt

Is it a European or an European?

answer

a European

Is it a university or an university?

answer

a university


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