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Language question

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Tinus1959, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi there,



    I know this has nothing to do with IT or computers, but with this international community I might as well get a correct answer here.

    I allways learned that the partikle for a verb starting with a vowel (a, e, i, o and u) should be an. An antilope, an egg and so on. Now I read in a book 'a user' where I would expect 'an user'. For some reason 'an user' does not sound that good, but hey, spoken and written language can be different.



    What would be correct?
     
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  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I would have said that 'an user' would be correct - but then I'm old-fashioned! :biggrin

    Harry.
     
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  3. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Hm - after a quick search I came accross this which seems to disagree with me! (Won't be the first time!)

    Edit: But consider this.

    Just goes to show that this isn't cut-and-dried!

    Harry.
     
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  4. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    Makes sence. Thank you.
     
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  5. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    I would say 'a user'.

    So for example 'a user switched on his monitor.'
     
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  6. Tinus1959

    Tinus1959 Gigabyte Poster

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    An other example could be a one-eyed pirate. Correct?
     
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  7. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    Yes you are correct.

    I was looking on the web and apparently writing 'an user' used to be the correct way but due to people writing words to how they would speak became more common they changed it to 'a' instead 'an'.
     
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  8. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I haven't read your links Harry, so apologies if I'm repeating you here.

    I personally think it's to do with the way the word sounds, as opposed to the actual letter at the beginning of the sentence (I haven't thought it through 100%, so I may be wrong).

    For example, one-eyed; one starts with a 'w' sound, which is a consonant; as does user - with a 'y' (which yes, technically used to be a vowel but I think isn't considered to be in modern English language usage).
     
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  9. MacAllan

    MacAllan Byte Poster

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    I agree: posh people would say "a hotel" whereas up north it would be "an 'otel" but the really pedantic would say "an hotel" :)
     
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