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English: "a user" or "an user"?

Question by Guest | 2017-12-31 at 11:28

At school, I have learned to say "an" when the word starts with a vowel and "a" when the word starts with a consonant.

Now, I have seen that someone has written "a user" on an official page. However, since "user" begins with a vowel, in my opinion, it should be "an user", right? On the other hand, I can not imagine that the website on which I saw it makes such an obvious mistake.

I have been wondering all the time, maybe someone can enlighten me in this point.

1Best Answer1 Vote

Indeed, "a user" is correct.

The reason: It's not about whether a word is written with a vowel at the beginning, it matters whether a word is pronounced with a vowel at the beginning.

Since we pronounce "user" as "youser" [you-ser], there is no vowel "u" but the consonant "j" in the first place so that we have to say "a".

There is also the counterexample: For example, we say "an hour", since we do not pronounce the "h" and instead say "auer". So the word starts with a pronounced vowel and we use "an".
2017-12-31 at 19:44

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