Is It 'An Hotel' or 'A Hotel': Which is Correct?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 28, 2023

Wondering whether to say 'an hotel' or 'a hotel?' Confused about indefinite article usage in general? This article will help with that.

  • In short, the correct answer is 'a hotel.'

Read on to find out why.

Is It 'An Hotel' or 'A Hotel'?

When you see that the word 'hotel' uses the indefinite article 'a', but the word 'hour' uses 'an,' you might be wondering what's going on. They both begin with the same letter, so why don't they use the same article?

Don't worry; it's actually quite simple. I'll explain everything.

Indefinite Article Rules

There are two indefinite articles in the English language: 'a' and 'an.' These articles are used with a noun to denote their singularity. Whether to use one or the other depends on one thing: the beginning sound of the noun.

Let's take the word 'European' as an example. When you say it out loud, what's the first sound you hear? It's the sound 'y' (or /j/ in phonetics). That's a consonant. Therefore, you should say 'a European.'

Now let's take 'hotel' and 'hour' as other examples.

When you say the word 'hotel' out loud, what's the first sound you hear? It's 'h' (or /h/ in phonetics.) That's a consonant sound.

When you say the word 'hour,' however, notice that you don't hear the sound /h/. That's because it's silent. Actually, the first sound you hear is 'a' (or /æ/ in phonetics). That's a vowel sound.

That is why you use 'a' with 'hotel' and 'an' with 'hour.'

Therefore, the correct phrase is 'a hotel.'

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Hotel'

When using indefinite articles, it's vital to know how to pronounce a word correctly so you can be sure you've chosen the correct article. So let's check out how to pronounce 'hotel.'

The word 'hotel' rhymes with the words' bluebell' and 'bombshell.' It's pretty much pronounced the way it's written. If you're familiar with the International Phonetics Alphabet, you might be interested in knowing how the word is spelled using the IPA.

/ hoʊˈtɛl /

If you aren't familiar with the IPA, check it out, as it can be very helpful in learning the correct pronunciation. This is handy as so many English words are not pronounced how they're written.

How to Use 'A Hotel'

We'll take a look at some examples of sentences that use the word' hotel.'

We found a hotel that was conveniently located in the city center.

Let's choose a hotel that has the option of ordering room service.

Did you know they were staying in a hotel suite?

I wonder where the check-in area is; you always have to check in to a hotel!

He stayed at a hotel that had mice in the kitchen!

The organization has made reservations at a hotel for the entire team.

Concluding Thoughts

So there you have it; using indefinite articles isn't so tricky after all, is it?

Let's summarize what we've learned:

  • Use 'a' when the noun's beginning sound is a consonant
  • Use 'an' when the noun's beginning sound is a vowel
  • Say 'a hotel', not 'an hotel'

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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