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The definition used in front of word starting with a vowel instead of a is not entirely correct. What about an hour? I'm not sure how I should change the definition. D.D.

How about: ...the an form preceeds words that start with a vowel or a non-voiced (i.e. silent) consonant.
I'm no linguistics major, so I'm just going on the stuff I read and hear in conversation. Is "non-voiced" the correct term here? Qubit
I don't think this covers it exactly either. Take the example of a user -- u is a vowel, but the article a is used. D.D.
Hmm. user has the "u" part voiced, so I'd say ... preceeds words starting with a non-voiced vowel or consonant.... although I don't have enough linguistic knowledge to feel confident in my abilities. Here are some examples -- are there other "special" cases? Qubit
a cat --- voiced consonant.
a hog --- voiced consonant
an hour --- non-voiced consonant
a user --- voiced vowel
an umbrella -- non-voiced vowel
an iceberg --- (etc...)
an agregate ---
an eagle ---

It´s not what you see that matters, it´s what you hear.Polyglot

I don't see what I did wrong, if anything.Polyglot 16:25, 29 Sep 2003 (UTC)

There is some room for dialectal variation here, particularly before h (a/an historic occasion is something of a shibboleth, at least in the US). The important point, though, is that a is a variant of an and not the other way around.

One technical note: English doesn't have non-voiced vowels (contrast with Japanese, which does). The list above should read

a cat --- consonant (happens to be unvoiced).
a hog --- consonant (happens to be unvoiced).
a dog --- consonant (happens to be voice).
an hour --- vowel (h is not pronounced).
a user --- consonant (u is pronounced yu)
an umbrella -- vowel
an iceberg --- vowel
an agregate --- vowel
an eagle --- vowel

The way to be sure that user differs from umbrella is to put both after a consonant (e.g., four users vs. four umbrellas). In, e.g., those must be {users,umbrellas} there will be a y in between the vowels in either case. -dmh 04:50, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Part of speech[edit]

Should this be listed as ===Article== and further qualified on the defintion lines? --Connel MacKenzie T C 19:28, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

"and" for "an"[edit]

For obvious reasons, a Google search on this question is impossible. I have noticed an increasing trend in written English to use and in place of an. Presumably this is due to pronunciation, as and is often /ən/, the same as an. Here's the example that brought this to mind:

Jim and Pam getting married did more than give Michael and excuse to hook up with Pam's mom.

Is anyone aware of any documentation on this phenomenon? The article could use a usage explanation on this topic, if anyone could find sources. — ˈzɪzɨvə 03:02, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

an hungred[edit]

And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

What is the an in KJV Matthew 4:2? Viking Rollo 04:03, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

before "hyper"[edit]

Is is "a hyperbolic..." or "an hyperbolic..."? (Latter looks weird to me but is found frequently.) What to do in that case ("y" not being a vowel)? I think this or an equivalent case should be put as exampe. Thanks. — MFH 16:04, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

I think it has to do with h dropping rather than y not being an orthographic vowel. — Ungoliant (falai) 16:16, 3 October 2014 (UTC)


While the general consensus connects AN with Old English for 'one', this is conjecture, because AN < ÆN[6] - a much rarer form - (one, [pronounced the same]) and has its parallels in etymology of ONE in Scots equivalent and Cumbrian YAN (one)[6] = contemporary Celtic form EAN[6]. There is no clear evidence of a direct connection between ÆN and ĀN in Old English that follows the sound law from Gothic AINS[8] or Proto-Germanic *AINAZ[7]; nor must a connection with Cornish AN[2] < Old Cornish EN[6]* (the, or definite article) be assumed.

[0] means 'Absolutely not; [1] means 'Exceedingly unlikely'; [2] means 'Very dubious'; [3] means 'Questionable'; [4] means 'Possible'; [5] means 'Probable'; [6] means 'Likely'; [7] means 'Most Likely' or *Unattested; [8] means 'Attested'; [9] means 'Obvious' - only used for close matches within the same language or dialect, at linkable periods.
  • Dr. Ken George KESVA Breton orientated Unified Cornish Dictionary.
Andrew H. Gray 20:49, 4 November 2015 (UTC) Andrew (talk)

'année' versus 'an'[edit]

Hi. If I had the linguistic knowledge, I'd add Usage notes, to suggest when one should use 'année' versus 'an', as I for one would welcome such a suggestion. Any takers? Ta, Trafford09 (talk) 08:41, 28 September 2016 (UTC)