Why do we write a university?

The U in university is pronounced with a long ‘u’ sound which sounds like ‘yew’ and is written as j in the phonetic alphabet. So, although the letter is a vowel, it is not pronounced like one in ‘university’ because it does not have a vowel sound. We therefore say ‘a university’.

Which is correct a university or an university?

It’s “a university!” Use the article “a” before the sound of a consonant. The word “university” starts with the vowel “u” but the first letter is pronounced like a “y.” Therefore, you treat the word as if it starts with a consonant.

Why do we say an?

An is the form of the indefinite article that is used before a spoken vowel sound: it doesn’t matter how the written word in question is actually spelled. So, we say ‘an honour’, ‘an hour’, or ‘an heir’, for example, because the initial letter ‘h’ in all three words is not actually pronounced.

Why an university is wrong?

So, although the letter is a vowel, it is not pronounced like one in ‘university’ because it does not have a vowel sound. We therefore say ‘a university’. The U in umbrella is pronounced as a vowel sound ( Λ using the phonetic alphabet) and so we use ‘an’.

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Is it a year or an year?

The word year when pronounced starts with a phonetic sound of e which is a vowel sound making it eligible for being preceded by an. Yet, we tend to write a year.

Is it an hour or a hour?

For those words that are written with the first letter as a consonant, but which are pronounced with the first letter as a vowel, such as “hour” and “herb,” the correct way to present them in a written document (e.g. your scientific manuscript written in American English) is: “An hour” and “An herb.”

Can you use an without a vowel?

The rule is: Use an before a word beginning with a vowel sound (not letter). It doesn’t matter how the word is spelled. It just matters how it is pronounced. Use a before a word with a consonant sound as well as y and w sounds.

Where we use A and an?

The indefinite article an is used to make pronunciation easier when reading a text aloud. The general rule is to use a when the indefinite article precedes a word beginning with a consonant sound and an when it precedes a word starting with a vowel sound.

Where is Aeiou used?

The rule states that “a” should be used before words that begin with consonants (e.g., b, c ,d) while “an” should be used before words that begin with vowels (e.g., a,e,i).

Is the H in hotel silent?

The rule goes that the article ‘a’ is used before a consonant and ‘an’ is used before a vowel, so with silent H we would say “an honest” and with pronounced H we would say “a hotel”. But some posher speakers tend to treat a pronounced H as if it were not there, so they would say “an historic” and “an hotel”.

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Notes for students