The difference between A and An
Indefinite articles "A" and "An"
There are two types of articles-explicit () and indefinite (a and an). The definite article refers to certain objects or certain people. Indefinite articles refer to unspecified objects or people. Both articles must be followed by nouns or adjectives and nouns. Although "the" can be used for singular or plural nouns, "a" and "an" are only used for singular nouns. E.g:-
- The book you want is on the table.
- The books you want are all on the table.
- A boy is playing in the yard.
- An apple lies under the tree.
Whether you use "a" or "an" depends on the noun it matches. Do nouns begin with vowels or consonants? For pronunciation reasons, you can use one or the other according to the first letter of the word at the end of the article. Using "an" in a conversation helps to make the speech smooth and clear.
The vowels are "a, e, i, o, u". If a noun or an adjective starts with these letters, you say "an" before it. example:-
- sleep! We will start early tomorrow.
- I received the I-Pad on my birthday.
- The airline must obtain permission to land abroad.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
- The heart is an important organ of life.
- Earthquakes in Nepal are not uncommon.
An exception to this rule is when "u" is pronounced "eu", for example:-
- The Alliance of Asian Nations will contribute to political stability.
- A ship can sink a ship.
- A European man committed murder.
- Karen joined a university in Montreal.
- Electricity bills are considered utility bills.
Another exception is the letter "h" when the "h" is muted. E.g:-
- We need (h) to reach the next town.
- To become a member of this club is (h).
Use "A" in front of all consonants and sometimes the vowel "u" explained above. Examples are as follows.
- School is where you receive your education.
- A party was held to celebrate his promotion.
- I don't know why he stopped talking to me.
- Mary and John just adopted a girl.
- They were shocked to see an elephant in the driveway.
- Pets need to be taken care of like children.
- Humans may also look like apes.
- An airplane is a flying machine.
- The loft is located at the top of the house.
- He was drunk and made a spectacle for himself.
- Life is a long journey full of ups and downs.
- There are twelve months in a year.
"A" and "An" can be used to describe work or religion.
- Mary is a Catholic.
- Mario is a doctor.
- Silvia is a beautician.
- Elizabeth is a flight attendant.
- Ronald is a software engineer.
- He was born as a Hindu, but converted to Christianity.
- She is a psychiatrist.
- Rona is European.
- He trained to be a pilot, but was unable to find a job.
- Sam is a union member of the local employee association.
It is bad English to delete "a" or "an" before singular nouns, adjectives and singular nouns. You cannot say "I am a man" or "I am a woman" or "he is a teacher". The correct way is to add "a" before men, women and teachers.