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Well, it's an hour, because when you say hour, the h is silent. It sounds like our, which means 'an' must be used. I agree it is confusing, it's like the word historical. You don't know which is more correct, a historical, or an historical.

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When you are talking to somebody, do you suddenly get confuse with how you will say it?

An hour or a hour?

Some times it does happening to me; I do get confused. But before I utter, I try to recall that the vowel sound of "o" comes right after the "h" in "hour" making the preceding word "an" and not "a" :wink:, and so I correct myself in my mind and then continue.

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Careful with this- not always.  For example, a union. U sound, definitely vowel sound, but still a. Similarly a unicorn. But an owl.

Really, you have to read a lot and hear a lot of English to get a sense of when it's a and when it's an.  There is not a hard and fast rule regarding a/an.  Usually, contrary to the post I am quoting, you do go by whether a consonant or vowel comes after the a/an except for before ultrasound 'h' (i.e. hour, honest). This is the basic rule.  All else is exceptions.

Great response. I must commend you :wink: English is a complicated language, I believe. Thus, we have to know that there will be many exceptions to the general rules. Therefore, heed the advice of my good friend here and read "a lot".

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It's "an hour" and yeah, people get confused sometimes about what they are going to talk next or how are they going to explain themselves, but this is just basic. So, I don't think that someone is confused about "an hour" :P

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  • 4 weeks later...

There are some who say that due to pronunciation problems, if your mispronounce the word "hour" and say the "H" then to be grammatically correct, you'll need to use the article "a" before the word. Dumb rules if you ask me.

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A/an is based on pronunciation, not appearance.

"An hour"

"An F"

"A Ouija board"

Yes, words starting with a vowel but sounding like consonants are preceded by "a" while "an" apply for those words that start with a vowel sounding including those that start with a silent consonant like in "hour"

However the use of a/an is sometimes tricky, as in example "an SEO" versus "a SEO" based on the fact that this stands for search engine optimization.

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We all get confused at time we are just but human after all. :) But "an hour" is grammatically correct as the "h" in "hour" is pronounced like a vowel "a" not "h" sounding. So it follows the rule that words with vowels as first letters must be used with the article "an". :)

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Soft H, as mentioned, makes "an" appropriate, but in conversation I usually say "a hour" which sounds like "uh owerr."

My favorite word that demonstrates this: An Harmonica.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is definitely an hour. I was taught in Primary school that the h is silent and so emphasis is been placed on the o which is a vowel :cool:.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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