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The word year when pronounced starts with a phonetic sound of e which is a vowel sound making it eligible for being preceded by an. Yet, we tend to write a year. Why?

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t doesn't start with a phonetic sound of e. It starts with [j] (usually spelled "y" in English), and that sound is not a vowel here.

Dictionary.com: Year: /yɪər/

Dictionary.msn.com: Year: /yeer/

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The rule of placing an before a vowel is actually to place an before a vowel sound. Therefore, because year is pronounced with a "y" sound (/ˈjuːnɪfɔːm/), which is not a vowel sound, it takes an a before it.

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The correct phrase is "a year." The article "a" is used before words that begin with a consonant sound, while "an" is used before words that begin with a vowel sound.

In the case of "year," even though it starts with the letter "y," the pronunciation begins with a consonant sound (/j/ sound). Therefore, you would say "a year."


"I have been living here for a year."

However, it's worth noting that there are some exceptions where "an" is used before words that start with a vowel letter but have a consonant sound. For instance, "an hour" or "an honest person." In these cases, the "h" in "hour" and "honest" is not pronounced, so they begin with a vowel sound.

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