This is a pretty forward question that requires a straightforward one piece with no possibilities answer.

I'm not a native English speaker or a dweller of an English speaking country, but I paid a hell lot of money to learn English from a native British nationalities in a fully certified learning centers that works in coordinate with the British embassy in my country.

I had to explain this intro because it has a lot to do with my question.

On surfing the internet and to be precise YouTube videos I found this.Just take a good look at the title of the video, Ok. I've encountered this a few times before in some other websites (like in comments, etc..) that I found people who write the indefinite article "a" instead of "an" in front of a noun that initiates with a letter vowel, but I really did not pay that much of an interest to what those people are writing as I assumed that they were not a native speaker nor live in country that speaks English.

Now that really pisses me off, like really. The boy in the video is supposed to be American (I guess to be fair, judging from the accent), and he is presumably the one who edited the title of the video, so why the hell is he making such a very big mistake making such an easy error and instead of writing the title like this : I Got an iPhone 7 Early he wrote it this "I Got a iPhone 7 Early". This is not what I paid my money for to learn English and my English native speaker teacher --regardless of his nationality which is British-- described that this is not legit to write such, this is not English. Americans might have some other different way from British but I'm sure they would agree on the part of the very pretty clear rule of definite and indefinite articles and that this is totally illegit to write such a thing.

However I'm seeing more and more people on the internet who also might be a native English speaker and commit such a very easy grammar mistake, Why ?


I guess the suggested answer does not resemble the example in my question (iphone). Have another opinion?, elaborate it in an answer.

closed as off-topic by Glorfindel, JavaLatte, CowperKettle, Chenmunka, P. E. Dant Sep 11 '16 at 18:00

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    Possible duplicate of "An hour" or "a hour" – Glorfindel Sep 11 '16 at 17:07
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the general tone of the question is hostile and the only question, "Why do people make this mistake?", is a matter of opinion. – JavaLatte Sep 11 '16 at 17:27
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    @AndrewMk I don't imagine that most native speakers of your first language speak it perfectly. Do they? As JavaLatte says, chill is in order here. Look at the sky for a while. Watch some clouds roll by. Have a beer. – P. E. Dant Sep 11 '16 at 17:58
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    At the heart of your question lies "a vs an". Both are indefinite articles. When I read your title, I expected "the vs a/an". What is the relevance of the definite article in your question? – Lawrence Sep 11 '16 at 21:54
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    @AndrewMk - It's your first question on the Stack Exchange, so we ought to understand if you don't get things quite right on your first try. As our tour page says: We're a bit different from other sites. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat. Also, the don't ask page says: To prevent your question from being removed, avoid asking questions [that are] just a rant in disguise. So please avoid seasoning your next question with remarks about "what pisses you off," etc. That won't fly here. – J.R. Sep 12 '16 at 18:12

I don't think it's because of illiteracy in this particular case, the presenter is obviously very articulate. If you listen to the vblog he's sounding "hip" and "cool" since he's received a prerelease of the iPhone 7, from Tim Cook personally no less.

The "slangish" wording the presenter is using "I gotta respect this from another brotha" would indicate that the sense he's trying to get across in his title is

"I gotta iPhone 7 Early"

This may make it more like headlinese. Please keep in mind he's a vblogger and has more than 1M followers.

In a strict sense you are correct, that "an" is the usually taught usage, and what you were taught in your certified course is probably correct (I am not familiar with your particular course of study). However, as with any language, day-to-day usage can get morphed by day-to-day people, and people don't always speak as from a grammar book. I'm sure that also happens in whatever your native tongue is.


Grammaticality is not determined by some abstract canon of rules which defines what is "grammatical" in all circumstances; it is determined by what the participants in each specific discourse find intelligible and acceptable.

Keller Keaton's videos, and their accompanying titles and commentary, are addressed primarily to an audience which is largely indifferent to the conventional standards of published English. Their digital communications are mostly in the form of texts and posts, modes closer to speech than writing, in which speed and spontaneity are more important than precision, and vastly more important than careful proofreading and revision.

Keller Keaton's followers don't care whether he gets his articles right, so long as he writes and speaks in the dialect of their age and generation. Why should he bother to proofread to correct so trivial a matter?

And this is in fact exactly the same attitude toward written communication you yourself exhibit in this passage:

this is shit this is not what I paid my money for to learn English and my English native speaker teacher (regardless of his nationality which is British ) described that is is not legit to write such bullshit this is not English and Americans might have some other different way from British but I'm sure they would agree on the part of the very pretty clear rule of definite and indefinite articles and that this is totally illegit to write such a thing.

That utterance contains at least three distinct independent clauses which are not capitalized and not joined by any conjunction or separated by any point—there is in fact no punctuation except a pair of parentheses, one of which is improperly separated. It includes nonstandard abbreviations, and two vulgarisms which are wholly out of place in temperate scholarly discourse. It includes a duplicated is which you have not troubled to delete.

We have no difficulty understanding what you mean—but that costs each of us a great deal more effort than it would have cost you to repair these faults before unloading the passage on us.

If you cannot be troubled to proofread your post for an audience where the explicit standard is standard formal English, why on earth should we share your indignation toward Keller Keaton for failing to proofread a post for an audience whose implicit standard is quite different?

  • You have a point criticizing the manner and the mistakes in my question, and you are right, but also do not forget you are comparing an native English speaker(Keller) to a non-native one(me). I like your answer and maybe the video is made to target a specific audience who are loose about the whole grammar thing, however I as an English learner I find it very very odd and can't accept it after I spent a good deal of time learning English and just read or hear something like "a iphone" it sounds very irritating. it appears to be more easy to just say the more canon-abstract-grammatical way. – AndrewMk Sep 11 '16 at 18:33
  • Though also I would not agree the term "abstract-canon", it is just a simple grammatical rule. – AndrewMk Sep 11 '16 at 18:34
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    @AndrewMk An collapses into a more often than is usually acknowledged in speech and casual writing which emulates speech. I'm pretty sure (but I can't point you to evidence) that in speech this is more common when the following syllable is strongly emphasized (as here: *I got a iphone 7!); thatwill typically evoke an onset glottal stop which breaks the 'hiatus' between vowels and thus renders the /n/ superfluous. – StoneyB Sep 11 '16 at 19:07
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    @AndrewMk If you are talking about hearing (as opposed to seeing) "a iPhone," please note that many native speakers do not (always) use 'an' before words that start with a vowel sound. Some highly educated native speakers might say a apple (or a iPhone). This is not necessarily a grammatical mistake, but a speaking preference or even dialectal. It may also be representing language change. A hundred years ago, it was standard to write/say an hundred and an useful; now it is not. – Alan Carmack Sep 11 '16 at 21:06

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