Home » Blog » A Hour Or An Hour: Which One To Use

A Hour Or An Hour: Which One To Use

by samik ghoshal

Want to truly know if it is ‘a hour or an hour’? Well, you are in luck, my friend. This article is meant to do just that. It will try to educate you on the proper usage of articles when you are dealing with words like hour, honest, honor, etc. So stick around and we will help you with it. 

‘An Hour’ What Does It Mean?

Solely based on the spelling and the rules of writing, it appears that the phrase, ‘a hour’ seems correct. However, when you go in deeper, you will realize that the correct way to write it is ‘an hour’ and not ‘a hour’. This article will help you decide whether it is a hour or an hour. So that you don’t come off as naive in English. 

An Hour’ What Does It Mean

If we delve deeper into the meaning of the phrase, ‘an hour generally means one hour. But since ‘a’ and ‘an’ both are indefinite articles, it means that the phrase is not talking about any specific hour. In fact, it is talking about any hour during the respective day or period of time. 

Why Do We Use It?

Now the biggest question of our ‘a hour or an hour’ debate is, why do we use an in front of a consonant that is ‘h’? This is where the magic of the English language comes alive. Even though we start the spelling with the consonant ‘h’ at the beginning of the word. The very pronunciation starts with ‘o’. So, even though we write ‘hour’, the actual pronunciation is basically ‘our.’ Hence, the difference makes the word start with ‘an’ This rule is something that is true for all other situations. 

Grammar Rules For ‘An Hour.’

So the key takeaway from the previous section of our ‘a hour or an hour,’ is that if a word starts or is pronounced with a vowel sound, then the proper indefinite article you should use is ‘an’. This is an easily identifiable phenomenon if instances are like ‘an apple,’ ‘an eagle,’ ‘an umbrella,’ etc. But when the instances are a little bit complex, like our subject of discussion, then the confusion seeps in. Especially for people who do not have English as their mother tongue or are not native English speakers. 

In fact, such confusion is not only exclusive to the word ‘hour’ there are other words that share the same locus and, therefore, give rise to similar confusion. We will look at similar words that share a similar locus in the latter part of the discussion so that you have a headway or some idea about what else to expect. 

A Hour Or An Hour – Is It Wrong?

A Hour Or An Hour- Is It Wrong

We have been discussing the correctness of the phrase ‘an hour’ for a while now. But should we discredit the phrase ‘a hour’ completely? Well, if you look at it from an objective standpoint, if you are writing ‘a hour’ it is technically not wrong since what you are saying is actually right and does follow the basic rules. But if you think about it, the written form should always follow the verbal form and not the other way around. This is a general thumb rule that you need to keep in mind because it will improve your English a lot and will help you understand how the language functions. 

A Comparative Study Of Words Starting With A Silent ‘H.’

Now, one of the foremost things that you need to know is that the confusion you are facing with the ‘a hour or an hour’ is not an exclusive case. Remarkably, the English language is fashioned in such a way that this is a recurrent issue that many new English speakers face since they start speaking in English. Some of the biggest examples of such similar confusion include:

  • An honest man
  • A home
  • An hour
  • A hourse

Brushing Up- Rules For A vs An.

I think that we can brush up on some of the rules that dictate this sector. Since we are already on the topic of proper usage of articles. This section will look at the rules that you can follow in order to keep track of the proper usage of ‘a’ and ‘an’. 

  • You should always use the word ‘a’ before a word that begins with any consonant sound and not how they are written. For example, “A casual worker’, ‘a dock hand’ etc. 
  • You should always use the word ‘an’ before a word that begins with any vowel sounds and not how they are written. For example, “an umbrella’, ‘an honorable man’, etc. 

Closely looking at the examples, the rule always follows the phonetics and not how they are written. Just look at the example that starts with the consonant ‘h.’ There are several words that start with the word ‘h’ but will make a sound that is equivalent to ‘o’ or ‘a’. 

Some Common Mistakes.

We have closely looked at every possible rule that needs to be followed in order to truly answer whether it should be a hour or an hour. But, the real way to stop from making any sort of confusion is to look at some of the most common mistakes committed by people when it comes to article usage. 

One of the biggest mistakes that people commit is to navigate the nuances of the English language solely using spelling. The primary factor that decides the usage is the sound of the word and not the spelling. 

Secondly is the pronunciation. Several words that start with ‘H’ have different pronunciations than the spelling shoes. Keeping in mind the differences or variations in pronunciation can definitely affect the article’s usage. So try to know the exact pronunciation of the respective word accurately in order to enhance your English language skills. 


So there you go. These were some of the primary points that you need to take away from the ‘a hour or an hour’ discussion. Always try to look at the phonetic side of the respective word in order to truly understand the true essence of the word. Try to follow and understand  the grammatical rules. You will see that you will run into such problems comparatively less. 


You may also like

Leave a Comment

About us

Most of the students do not like to write essays. The reason behind it is they do not know the tricks and the tips to write an excellent essay in their schools or any professional set up. Our primary objective is to guide the students so that it helps them write essays flawlessly. 

Social links

@2021 - All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by RedHatMedia