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Since user starts with a vowel shouldn't we use "an" ? I've seen many cases of using "a" .

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marked as duplicate by Roaring Fish, J.R., Carlo_R., Andrew Leach, tchrist Feb 24 '13 at 14:26

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2 Answers 2

up vote 39 down vote accepted

From Amerenglish:

"An" goes before all words that begin with vowels:

  • An egg

With two exceptions:

When u makes the same sound as the y in you, or o makes the same sound as w in won, then a is used:

  • a union
    • a united front
    • a unicorn
    • a used napkin
    • a U.S. ship
    • a one-legged man
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Please include a reference to your source when you cite another website literally. –  Cerberus Sep 6 '13 at 17:32
Absolutely. Will do. –  Benyamin Hamidekhoo Sep 6 '13 at 17:33
An user did sound incorrect; It is nice to be right. –  this Jun 2 '14 at 16:44

It's a because the first sound of user is not a vowel, but the consonant /j/.

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Please, could someone elaborate on this? I had never heard of that and I am having trouble looking for the right keywords to search for it. –  Cesar Aug 25 '14 at 10:17
‘Vowel’ and ‘consonant’ describe letters that represent vowel and consonant sounds, but they also describe the sounds themselves. A vowel is a sound made from the throat without interruption by the other vocal organs. A consonant is a sound blocked or restricted by audible friction. The initial sound of ‘user’, /j/, is interrupted by the position of the soft palate and the tongue. It is convenient to group it with the other consonants, but, because its place and manner of articulation are a little different from them, it is also known as a semi-vowel. –  Barrie England Aug 25 '14 at 10:38

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