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How to say English articles A and AN

 

In this quick tip lesson we'll clear up any and all confusion about the pronunciation of the English articles A and AN.

Click here to learn how to pronounce the article THE.


Practice phrases and sentences used in this lesson: 

The article "a" is pronounced  “uh” /ǝ/:

What a day!

I think it’s a mistake.

Let’s have a discussion.

We need a solution.

 

The article "an" is pronounced  “uhn” /ǝn/:

I’ll have an orange.

It’s an easy fix.

He’s an average student.

That’s an easy question.

She has an interesting story.

 

Use A/UH before a word that begins with a consonant sound:

a cat

a fan

half a day

one at a time

 

And use AN/UHN before words that begin with a vowel sound:

an option

an example

an incredible day

an excellent meal

 

But be careful. Notice I said vowel and consonant SOUNDS, not letters. Don’t get tricked here.

a university

a European

a one time thing

Even though you see a vowel letter, the sound you hear pronounced is actually a consonant sound.

a /y/university

a /y/European

a /w/one time thing

And don’t be fooled by words like this: hour, honor, honest

Although you SEE the consonant H, that H is actually silent. The first sound you hear is a vowel so it’s:

an hour, I’ll be there in an hour.

an honor, It’s an honor to meet you.

an honest, He’s not an honest person.

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