'A User' or 'An User': Which is Correct?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on March 6, 2023

Is it correct to write 'a user', or is it better to write 'an user'? We've got you covered. We’ll answer that and teach you how to pronounce and use this phrase correctly in a sentence.

In short, here’s what you need to know:

  • ‘A user’ is the correct way to say this.
  • ‘An user’ wouldn’t be correct because it’s one of the exceptions to the rule that if a word begins with a vowel sound, you use ‘an’ instead of ‘a.’

Therefore, you should avoid using ‘an user’ in your writing.

Which is the Correct Usage – ‘A User’ or ‘An User’?

Typically, when a word in the English language begins with a vowel sound, we use the word ‘an’ so it doesn’t sound so awkward coming out of our mouths.

However, like any rule, there are exceptions.

And the word ‘user’ is one of those exceptions.

See, with words like ‘apple’ and ‘oven,’ you’d say an apple or an oven. But 'user' takes a different path.

Kind of like the word 'one.' You'd say a 'one-time' thing. That's because the 'o' has a 'w' sound, not a vowel sound.

Is It ‘A User’ or ‘An User’?

As we just discussed, the word ‘user’ is an exception to the rule that words that begin with a vowel sound usually come after the word ‘an’ rather than ‘a.’

That’s because it’s a mouthful to say ‘a apple’ or ‘a oven.’ It’s too much pressure on the throat for us or something.

Regardless, you should always make sure to have an ‘an’ before the word ‘user.’

For example:

Definition and Meaning of ‘A User’

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word ‘user’:

  • It is one that uses.
  • A user might be a computer user, a website user, a game user, and more.
  • ‘A user’ can be used to describe anyone that’s using anything pretty much. There are no limitations.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘A User’

Do you need help pronouncing this phrase? Here’s a short guide.

To pronounce this phrase correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling:


How to Use ‘A User’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what the phrase means and how to pronounce it correctly, let’s see some examples of using it in a sentence.

  • ‘A User’ experience is defined by how well someone can navigate your website and find what they need. It’s called UX in the industry.
  • I’m seeking ‘a user’ experienced expert for my market research report. I want to gather some industry insights.
  • ‘A user’ logged onto my website today for the first time. I’m so excited to have my first site visitor!
  • ‘A user’ on Facebook is trying to get me to send him money. How do I block him from contacting me?
  • One of the things I liked is that ‘a user’ can get so much more from the website now that it’s revamped. It’s really sweet.
  • I don’t think I’m ‘a user’ that will benefit from the updates. You should probably ask someone else what they think.

Final Thoughts on ‘A User’ and ‘An User’

To recap, we learned the following:

  • ‘A user’ is the only correct way to write or say this phrase.
  • ‘An user’ should never be used because it’s incorrect. It’s one of the exceptions to the rule that if a word begins with a vowel sound, you replace ‘a’ with ‘an.’

So, it’s best to avoid using ‘an user’ in your writing. 

If you ever get stuck on anything, don’t be afraid to come back to review what you learned, as Akeelah repeatedly did in Akeelah and the Bee. We’ve got a ton of content on confusing words and phrases you might get stuck on, but like Akeelah, you’ve got resources that can help you learn everything you need to learn to win the bee! Or, you know, write whatever you need to write. Go check it out.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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