Grammar GuideArticlesWhen should you use 'a' and when should you use 'an'.

When should you use 'a' and when should you use 'an'.

When should you use 'a' and when should you use 'an'.

In English there are two indefinite articles, a and an.

A is used when we refer to a word starting with a consonant sound. e.g. a doctor, a car, a marriage, a woman.

An is used when we refer to a word which starts with a vowel sound. e.g. an apple, an eagle, an octopus.

It is important to note that many words which start with a consonant letter may actually start with a vowel sound, and some words that start with a vowel letter may start with a consonant sound. For example, when a word starts with a silent 'h', it generally starts with a vowel sound. e.g. hour, heir, honest.

Words that start with a consonant letter but a vowel sound tend to be acronyms where the letters are pronounced individually. e.g. UFO: because 'U' is pronounced as 'yew' on its own, it takes the indefinite article a.

Dictionary Definition of aDictionary Definition of an

Examples of a in a sentence

A Novel
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
RUTH RABINOWITZ HAD A WAKING NIGHTMARE THAT SHE had hit…
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
AS RUTH UNDERSTOOD IT, THERE EXISTED A DICHOTOMY of opinions…
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
IN FACT, WHAT CAME NEXT WAS A CHECK FOR $995,…
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond

Examples of an in a sentence

HUGH’S ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT A WEEK LATER WAS HALF an…
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
Never be late for an audition.
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
She’ll still have an ethnic look, but she’ll be able to play Arab, Jew, gypsy, whatever.
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
Her mother rose, put an arm around her, and gently led her away.
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond