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  • Category: Improve Your English

    Use of Indefinite Articles 'a' and 'an' in the Forum Titles / Posts

    It is being observed that the indefinite articles 'a' and 'an' are not being used the right way in the Forum posts / titles.

    There is a general rule that the article 'an' is used for the words starting a vowel (a, e, i, o, u). Accordingly members are using 'an' for the words that start with a vowel. So also members use the indefinite article 'a' for every word that starts with a consonant (i.e letters other than the vowels).

    Please note that there is an exception for this rule.

    The pronunciation of the word is taken into consideration for using indefinite articles 'a' and 'an'.

    a uniform, a unit, a university, a utensil, a unique, a union
    - in these words the pronunciation of the 1st letter 'u' (though a vowel) is that of a consonant i.e 'y'. Accordingly article 'a' is used for these words.

    Note that article 'a' is not used for all the words that start with the vowel 'u'. Example: it is an umbrella, an ugly and not a umbrella, a ugly.

    Words that start with a vowel but do not take the indefinite article 'an' are:
    'a euro', a European etc.

    There are words that start with a consonant but the 1st letter is pronounced as a vowel. For such letters, indefinite article 'an' is used. Examples of such words: an hour, an year, an honor, an honorary, an honest etc.
  • #577255
    Good advice from the author and surely it must be useful tip to all those who are raising topics in this forum and we are sure to follow the rules of indefinite article letters.
    K Mohan
    I consider myself as the learner everyday

  • #577258
    Although everybody has/had to study these well-known rules about the indefinite articles (a, an) during school-years, the author has done a good job by reminding the Members about these rules.
    “Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” - Paul Terry

  • #577270
    Despite being the official language of 67 sovereign countries and 27 non-sovereign entities, the English language has a major limitation in the form that the language is written using only 26 letters consisting of 5 vowels and 21 consonants. This limitation has made the otherwise very rich English language complicated by compulsion of having too many 'ifs and buts'. The letters a, e, i, o and u are vowels only when they are not silent.

    Such a scenario caused English to develop as a language of the elite who were taught about the finer points and nuances in a public school rendering the commoners to be ridiculed at for their incorrect usage.

    However, the trend is now changing very fast, particularly after the advent of computers and the internet. A new kind of English language is emerging which is simple and straight forward bereft of complications.

    The distinctions are likely to get blurred over a period of time. Only the computers will decide as to where to put 'a' and where to put 'an'.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #577273
    [Response removed by Admin. Read forum policies.]

  • #577283
    - I never really have doubts whether to choose a definite article or an indefinite one ... I've seen many titles of paintings that didn't use any articles

  • #577372
    As a country first language is Hindi, we usually get this kind of problem in English language, I too and many of them make mistakes in this type of rule for joining words. This is a very good example for the author side that we should be careful before using articles, as we are taught from the beginning of our learning stage itself by our teacher that we should use an in vowels like a, e, i, o, u and a were consonants appear. For example we cannot use an uniform just because of its vowels property, here u sound as you.
    live happily in every situation of life

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