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A or an?

(14 Posts)
PrettyCandles Fri 19-Aug-11 12:36:46

Before 'unique'?

Although it starts with a vowel, the vowel itself begins with a consonant sound: yoo-neek.

hocuspontas Fri 19-Aug-11 12:38:20


As you say, it starts with a consonant sound.

LeBOF Fri 19-Aug-11 12:38:40


RamblingRosa Fri 19-Aug-11 12:38:46

Definitely "a"

LeBOF Fri 19-Aug-11 12:39:28

We are presenting a united front, then? grin

Funk Fri 19-Aug-11 14:28:40

For once shock and shock at the question.

PrettyCandles Fri 19-Aug-11 14:29:47

And what about before words beginning with 'h'?

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Aug-11 14:34:52

It depends if you pronounce the "h", it's the sound that matters more than the actual letter.

So I would say "a hotel", "a house" etc

But some people say "an 'otel"

I can't think offhand of any words where I don't pronounce the h myself though....

flaminglip Fri 19-Aug-11 14:41:31

oh minefield. Isn't it 'an hotel' because its french? I would say "an otel" but i would say " A Horse "

....But, then again..... DS2 does say " An Nellycopter" grin

PrettyCandles Fri 19-Aug-11 15:13:11

Interesting little bit of pedant-trivia: certain citrus fruits were originally called 'noranges', because they came from Spain (naranjas). But 'a norange' gradually evolved into 'an orange'.

VictorianIce Fri 19-Aug-11 16:24:48

The reverse happened with newts and nicknames - they gained the 'n' from the 'an' smile

hocuspontas Fri 19-Aug-11 17:03:36

Again the words beginning with 'h' you would say 'a' for those starting with an aitch sound (history, hammer) and 'an' for those starting with a vowel sound (honest, hour).
The only odd ones I can think of at the moment are 'historic' and 'hotel' where you would tend to say 'an' instead of 'a' because it flows better. (Maybe because of the stress is on the 2nd syllable not the 1st?)
Speakers who tend to drop aitches would say 'an' with words like history and hammer because trying to say 'a 'ammer' would be difficult!

EuphemiaMcGonagall Fri 19-Aug-11 17:32:01

There are four words in English that start with a silent "h": hour, heir, honour and honest.

Saying "an" before any other words beginning with "h" is just pretentious.

Red2011 Wed 24-Aug-11 17:04:27

and saying "haitch" is cringeworthy.

(Not accusing anyone here of doing that, but I hear it a lot)

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