English is a confusing language; there are so many rules and then exceptions to them!
If you’re wondering whether you should use an eye or a eye, the correct answer is: an eye.
Eye starts with the vowel “e” and is also pronounced like the vowel “i”. Since “eye’ begins with a vowel sound, we use the article “an” before it.
Need more of an explanation for these rules? Continue reading to learn more.
Rules for using “a” or “an”
“A” and “an” are indefinite articles that modify nouns (person, place, or thing).
A is used when the noun begins with a consonant, or sounds like a consonant.
- A kite
- A balloon
- A duck
- A dictionary
- A unicorn (Sounds like Yoo-nicorn)
- A unique ant (Sounds like Yoo-nique)*
- A one-car garage (Sounds like Won-car)
* Notice that when the noun is modified by an adjective, the article used depends on the sound of that adjective.
An precedes a word that begins with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u, and sometimes y).
- An eraser
- An octopus
- An igloo
- An egg
- An apple
- An ant
- An umbrella
Is it “a” or “an” before H?
There is also some confusion of using a vs an with nouns that start with an “h”.
The rule is that you should use a with words that start with a pronounced h.
- A horse
- A hero
Then use an with words starting with a silent h.
- An hour
- An honest man