a one-stage hypothesis

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elliest_5

Senior Member
UK
Greek
It suddenly dawned on me, as I was proofreading a text of mine, that it seems perfectly fine to say "he supports a one-stage processing hypothesis", instead of "an one-stage..." . Is my (non-native speaker) intuition right? I mean, I don't remember any rule about that, but the article seems to agree with the word "processing" (or "hypothesis") instead of the "one-stage", which seems parenthetical, even if it is what immediately follows and begins with a vowel.

What's the correct use?


thanks
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "An" goes before vowel sounds not vowel letters. "One" starts with a consonant sound like "won" so it's "a one..."
    "an on-topic post"
    "a one-letter post"
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    There are several threads on this topic here already. The rule is that the word after the article determines which article to use - but the choice between "a" and "an" depends on the sound, not the letter. We use "a" with "university," for example.

    Here, the word "one" begins with a "w" sound (it sounds the same as "won") so "a" is correct. The word "processing" is not relevant.

    Added in edit: Cross-posted with Myridon. Fortunately, we agree.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Examples
    A one-stage process
    A two-stage process
    ...
    An eight-stage process
    A nine-stage process
    A ten-stage process
    An eleven-stage process
    ...

    As the others have pointed out, only the sound of the subsequent phoneme is important.
     
    Last edited:

    elliest_5

    Senior Member
    UK
    Greek
    Thank you very much guys! I knew the rule about the sound, but had never realised that "one" is actually pronounced "won" :eek:
     

    elliest_5

    Senior Member
    UK
    Greek
    hehe well - I don't think I 've been pronouncing it wrong, it's just that the "w" sound is not strictly a consonant (which is why it's called an approximant), so in the case of "one" I had it categorised more as a vowel, obviously influenced by the orthography too.
     
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