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A or an

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  • A and an are indefinite articles, they are non-specific markers for singular nouns. A and an are used for addressing a thing in general, not addressing a specific item. When the word following begins with a consonant sound, the correct indefinite article to use is a. When the following word begins with a vowel sound, the correct indefinite article to use is an.

    A is always used when the word following begins with a consonant sound, even if the word following is a modifier of the noun that a is marking. Consonant sounds are not limited to the consonants of the English alphabet, other consonant sounds are the “y” in use and the “h” in hammer.

    An is always used when the word following begins with a vowel sound, even if the word following is a modifier of the noun that an is marking. Vowel sounds are not limited to the vowels of the English alphabet, other vowel sounds occur when the first “h” in a word is silent, such as in hour, or an acronym is spelled out when spoken, such as IBM.

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    Examples

    A Vinyl LP Frenzy Brings Record-Pressing Machines Back to Life (The New York Times)

    The 78-year-old who lives behind a gas station in Vatican City previously worked as a nightclub bouncer. (The Washington Post)

    “Her moods could swing drastically,” Oppenheimer told the Post, adding that she once “literally beat Bobby with a hairbrush.”  (People)

    Copyright holders cannot shirk their duty to consider—in good faith and prior to sending a takedown notification— whether allegedly infringing material constitutes fair use, a use which the DMCA plainly contemplates as authorized by the law. (Fortune)

    The operator of an underground Kansas City diesel repair shop disputes allegations that two young boys had been living in a crate for several days at his business. (The Kansas City Star)

    In this Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, file photo, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll yells from the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. (The Denver Post)

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