I will teach you when to use 'a' and when to use 'an' in an English sentence. Just watch this video, and you will never be confused by this again. I'll give examples and practice sentences so you can test yourself at https://www.engvid.com/easy-english-a-an/ to make sure you have understood.
Hello. I'm Gill from engVid, back to give you another lesson on an aspect of English, and today we're looking at the indefinite article, which is "a" and "an", and when to use each one. So: "a", "an", indefinite article. So, there's one main rule to this that you use "a" before a consonant sound and "an" before a vowel sound. But as you'll see, sometimes there are some little exceptions where you just have to bear something in mind to do with how the word is pronounced, rather than how it's spelt. You'll see that as we go through.
So, just to look at the list here, the letter "a", some people will say: "a" which is okay if you're emphasizing it, but normally we just pronounce it "uh". So: "uh bag", "uh coat", you don't say: "a bag", "a coat". It doesn't sound very, you know, normal. So: "a bag", "a coat", "a dress". And then here's the first exception to the rule, this word is spelt with an "E", it begins with an "E", which you might think: "Well, that's one of the vowels: a, e, i, o u. Why is a vowel here for 'E'?" And the answer is that when you pronounce this word you're making a "y" sound, so it's not "e", "e", "European", it's: "Yuropean", so: "a European", and that's why there are sometimes these exceptions, so that is one of them.
Okay. So, then, continuing: "a fridge", "a giraffe", "a kitchen", "a map", "a sound". And again, letter "u" is a vowel, but the pronunciation is this "y" sound again, so: "a university". Okay, so it's important to know how the word sounds before you know whether to write "a" or "an". Okay? So I hope that's clear.
So let's move on to the other column. This one, "an" comes before a vowel sound. And, again, we pronounce it... This is: "a", this is "un", "un". We don't say: "an". People do, again, for emphasis, but: "un", because this is a very small, little word, it's not one of the most important words in a sentence, we don't usually emphasize it. So: "an artist", "an exhibition", "an insult". If you're not sure what "insult" is, if someone says something bad about you, they've... That's an insult. If you... If you hear them as well, you say: "That's an insult. How can you insult me like that?" So, that's an insult, an insult.
"An offer", make me an offer. "An upset", again, if you're not sure of the word "upset", if you hear somebody insulting you, you will become upset and it becomes an upset. That was an upset when I heard that insult. So: "an upset". Okay? And then, finally, one other exception, here's one beginning with "h", but it's one of the small number of words beginning with "h" where you don't pronounce the "h", so it's pronounced: "onour", so it's as if it began with an "o", so: "an honour". We don't say: "h-onour", it's: "onour", so: "an honour". So, that's another little exception. Okay, so I hope that's clear. And we'll now move on to a second board, where I'll give you a little test where you can choose which of these two to put in the gaps. Okay.
Okay, so now we have a test, and it's for you to decide whether to put "a" or "an" in each gap. Okay, so let's go.
"Do you have _____ pen?"
Which would you put there? "Do you have a pen?" Okay? Because "p" is a consonant, "pen". "A pen", okay.
"I'm looking for _____ cup."
What would you put there? So: "I'm looking for a cup", because "c" is another consonant. Okay?
"Shall we boil _____ egg? Shall we boil _____ egg?"
So "e", is that a consonant or is it a vowel? So, it's a vowel, isn't it? So it's: "Shall we boil an egg?" Okay. Right.
"How much is _____ Euro worth?"
"Worth" meaning: What is the value of...? Maybe compared to dollars or pounds. So: "How much is _____ Euro worth?" Euro, it's an "E", but remember it's also about how it sounds. So, when you say: "Yuro", you're making a "y" sound, like that: "ya". So, it's not "an" in this case, it's "a". "How much is a Euro worth?" Okay. Right.
So, next one. This is an ominous thing that sometimes people say:
"We need to have _____ talk."
And you think: "Oh my goodness, what is this going to be about?" Anyway. "We need to have a talk." Okay? Because "t" is another consonant. "A talk". Right.
Next one. You see a tree with apples growing, and you feel like eating one, so you say:
"I'm going to pick _____ apple."
So, which one would you put there? "I'm going to pick an apple." Because "a" is a vowel sound, okay.
"They used to have _____ dog."