a or an before h – a or an hotel???

Students often ask, "Is it a or an before h words?" For example, is it correct to say 'a hotel' or 'an hotel'???    

Lots of people were taught at school that you should use the indefinite article…  

– 'a' before words that you spell beginning with a consonant (e.g. b, c, d, f, g, h etc)  

– 'an' before words that spell beginning with vowels (e.g. a, e, i, o, u)  

– 'an' before words that you start spelling with 'h'  


You need to relearn these rules to the 100% correct version below      

A or An: Use the indefinite article

  1) 'A' before words that start with consonant SOUNDS

2) 'AN' before words that start with vowel SOUNDS

That is it!    

Therefore, these two rules above mean that you use…

a) 'AN' before 'h' words where the 'h' is not sounded
(e.g. an hour late, an honorary degree, an heir to the throne, an honest mistake,

b) 'A' before 'h' words where 'h' IS sounded
(e.g. a hotel, a healthy baby, a history documentary, a happy ending, a historical event, a horrific accident, a handbag, a horse)

c) 'A' before 'u' words where the 'u' sounds like 'You'
(e.g. a university, a used car, a united front, a union official)   So, to answer the question "a / an hotel"??? – It is definitely "A HOTEL"  

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