Tips for using a and an before words that start with h or u.

 

This is a small thing, but it makes your writing so much more credible. It’s all in the details!

Use a before words that start with the enunciated letter h:

  • History. A history class about famous churches.
  • Hazard. Going without sleep is a hazard to your health.
  • Home. She bought a home in the hills.

with words with the phonic sound yew:

  • University. She attended a university in Rome.
  • European. France is a European nation.
  • URL. You need a URL for your website.

Use an before

words that start with silent letter h:

  • Hour. It took an hour to drive to the mountains),
  • Herb. Use an herb to flavor your cooking),
  • Heirloom. The silver brush is an heirloom from my grandmother.

words that start with a short u:

  • Uncle. He is an uncle of mine.
  • Underdeveloped. An underdeveloped bee has no wings.
  • Urgent. They put out an urgent call for supplies.

and acronyms that start with with a vowel sound:

  • M(em)CPS—Montgomery County Public Schools. An MCPS student.
  • L(el)GBTQ—Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. An LGBTQ study circle.
  • N(en)PR—National Public Radio. I work at an NPR station.

Inspired by Woe Is I, by Patricia T. O’Connor. Copyright 1996.

Let me help you put your best word forward. Contact me at dmariemarks@gmail.com.

About The dutty is "the ground," the foundation, the earth--just like words are part of the foundation on which I build my life.

Reason for being: To tell stories and help writers and others with a message to put their best word forward.
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