Monday, June 27, 2011

An & A

Like my advice/advise pet peeve, an & a bother me to bits. Most people seem to be unaware of the rule.

The rule being: Put 'a' before words that start with consonants and 'an' before words that start with vowels.

I'm unsure why people aren't able to follow this. But it irks me. It irks me to no end!

The thing is, it's a bit more complicated than that. It's not just words that start with a vowel, but ones that SOUND like they start with a vowel.

Confused?

Don't be.

Here's my example:

It took me a hour to drive home.

EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. (That's a buzzer sound)

This is wrong.

Hour sounds like 'our' and thus needs 'an'. Not 'a'.

Another example:

Draw me a one dimensional sketch.

One sounds like 'won' and thus needs 'a' not 'an'.

Are you getting my drift?

The best thing to do is sound it out. Does it sound odd? Try it with the reverse and see if it sounds better. If you can't tell which one sounds better, I can't help you.

And no, I am not pedantic. You should see my friend Noelle. :-/

7 comments:

Darlene Griffith said...

Ah ha ha ha! Loved it! No, you are not pedantic... Nit picky... perhaps. Stickler for the rules... absolutely! But, in the end, it just makes you more lovable!

R.C. Lewis said...

Yup, that one bugs me, too ... except with my deaf students, in which case I help them correct it, but I'm not as bothered. It's the sounds-like-a-vowel or sounds-like-a-consonant cases that throw them, understandably. ;)

Mr Ellis said...

Where do you stand on heroic? I think it should be an heroic deed, but I never see it written that way in the papers. It bugs me every time.

T.L Tyson said...

Mr Ellis, it would be a heroic deed. :)

:D

Jasmine Walt said...

I seriously don't get how people have problems with that rule. I've known it since I was seven years old.

T.L Tyson said...

@Jasmine - I think it's the most common one I see!

Mr Ellis said...

It must be a British thing, then :)