Questions tagged [sandhi]

Questions about sandhi, an umbrella term for phonological changes that occur at word and morpheme boundaries.

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Is “an historical” correct? [duplicate]

Why do some people say or write an historical but not an ham sandwich or an hint?
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26 views

Why is the article determined by the adjective and not the noun? [duplicate]

Please look at these phrases: I think it is a dramatic scene. I think it is a hilarious scene. I think it is an intimate scene. I think it is an ambiguous scene. Why is the article determined by the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
46 views

Shall I compare "thee" to "thuh"? [duplicate]

This may sound silly, but I keep hearing people saying "thuh" instead of "thee" for "the" in front of adjectives or nouns starting with a vowel or a diphthong. Like, "thuh' old people, "thuh" other ...
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1 answer
344 views

Should it be 'an' or 'a' in front of an abbreviation? [duplicate]

I am using abbreviations for well-known phrases: e.g., "Nash equilibrium" becomes NE and "neural networks" becomes NN. Should I use "an NN" or "a NN"? Does it matter whether a reader "unfolds" the ...
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  • 111
35 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why would "an mule" be used instead of "a mule"? [closed]

As generally agreed and as extensively discussed in this question, "an" should be used in place of the more common "a" where the following word begins with a vowel sound. I have ...
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  • 433
1 vote
1 answer
70 views

Why does reversing the rules of "an" vs "a" make speech easier at times? [duplicate]

Background From what I’ve learned during grade school, information which can easily be found online, you should use an when the following word starts with a vowel: "An animal" "An ...
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  • 231
0 votes
1 answer
80 views

a/an expected completion date? [duplicate]

Question is pretty self-explanatory. Either way, a date on a calendar is a date. When it becomes unexpected, it sounds right to me to say an unexpected date instead of a unexpected date. Same for when ...
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  • 137
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does a word that starts with a vowel letter start with a vowel sound?

I'm currently learning about consonant to vowel linking, and I'm wondering if it's safe to assume that most words (if not all?) that start with a vowel letter (a, e, i, o, u) will also start with a ...
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2 votes
2 answers
668 views

Why is a word starting with a vowel sound proceeded by 'an'? [closed]

I have read that the the modern 'an' derives from the Old English 'ān', which is also the source of 'one'. So I guess I can see how "one hour; one apple" could work, but that doesn't explain 'why'. ...
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  • 131
4 votes
0 answers
425 views

The pronunciation of the definite article by American speakers

I was reading an article the other day and I came across an interesting passage: Notice that the weak form of the is typically [ði] before a vowel-initial word (the apple) but [ðə] before a ...
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  • 814
1 vote
1 answer
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A recent trend in pronouncing "the" [duplicate]

I have observed a recent trend to pronounce "the" as "thuh" even if it is followed by a vowel (as in "thuh evening.") Is this regional (I live in Alabama) or national? I think it's the latter. And ...
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1 answer
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When using symbols instead of words in writing, do I use "an" or "a" before the symbol? [duplicate]

The sentence in question: Every list item that is marked with an * is optional. The word "asterisks" isn't spelled out, so I'm not sure if "an" or "a" is the correct word to put before it.
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  • 211
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

the and thee (I prefer to pronounce it as thuh all the time) [closed]

My question is can I always pronounce THE with thuh instead of thee? Because unlike "a" "an" rule, pronouncing "thee" seems cumbersome for some people (including me) Note that I know the "emphasis" ...
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2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Pronunciation of "the" before a long u sound

All my life I have been hearing and pronouncing /ði/(unstressed) in "the US", "the UK" and "the UN", but I'm not sure that was correct. How do you pronounce "the" before a long u sound? I searched ...
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  • 385
0 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is the "an" rule applied when a sum of money is in between? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? I have recently seen this image: Should "a" have been used instead of "an" in the "...an $100,000 apartment" part?
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0 votes
2 answers
3k views

Correct pronunciation of "the" [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Is pronouncing “The” as in “Thee” still correct in titles? What is the pronunciation of “the?” What would be the correct way to ...
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  • 623
14 votes
1 answer
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Is pronouncing "The" as in "Thee" still correct in titles?

When saying the title of JRR Tolkien's masterpiece, which is the correct pronunciation (Yes, I know that they're spelled wrong, but I'm trying to emphasize the pronunciation): Thuh Lord of thuh Rings ...
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  • 709
105 votes
10 answers
18k views

"A/An" preceding a parenthetical statement

When a/an precedes a parenthetical aside (sometimes seen in informal/conversational writing), should the vowel rule depend on the first word in parentheses, or the next word in the "regular" flow of ...
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  • 3,254
27 votes
5 answers
37k views

What is the pronunciation of "the"?

I read that the definite article is pronounced differently depending on the word that follows it. Which is the exact pronunciation of the?
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140 votes
17 answers
187k views

When should I use "a" vs "an"?

In the following example, is it appropriate to use a or an as the indefinite article, and why? He ate __ green apple. I know that in the case of just "apple", it would be "an apple," but I've ...
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