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Is it always 'an' before a word beginning with a vowel?

(12 Posts)
gameboy Fri 05-Sep-08 16:44:58

I am reviewing something for a colleague, and in it she has written, "a unique approach". Intuitively I think this should be 'an unique approach'?

Salleroo Fri 05-Sep-08 16:55:04

I would say she is correct, as it reads better. However these always get me, and I refuse to put an before h, as in an herb.

Salleroo Fri 05-Sep-08 16:56:27

Found this on the net:

"An" goes before all words that begin with vowels:
an apricot
an egg
an Indian
an orbit
an uprising

with two exceptions: When u makes the same sound as the y in you, or o makes the same sound as w in won, then a is used.

a union
a united front
a unicorn
a used napkin
a U.S. ship
a one-legged man

Anna8888 Fri 05-Sep-08 16:57:22

It varies with "u, depending on pronunciation. The "an" is only there as an aid to pronunciation, after all.

So:

An unkind man
An unhappy child

A unique approach
A unicorn

MrsBadger Fri 05-Sep-08 16:59:54

Salleroo is spot on

AccipeHoc Fri 05-Sep-08 17:00:56

a unique is correct, because the sound is a Y sound.

Nagapie Fri 05-Sep-08 17:01:50

I think another exception would be the word hour - an hour (so maybe before 'H' if it is silent)

gameboy Fri 05-Sep-08 18:27:35

Yes - that makes sense - thanks.

Nagapie, an hotel is another one of those...

wheresthehamster Fri 05-Sep-08 18:42:00

When an 'H' word is not stressed on the first syllable then 'an' is sometimes used.

an historic moment
an hotel

wheresthehamster Fri 05-Sep-08 18:42:59

And also when the 'H' is silent

an honest man
an honour

SoupDragon Fri 05-Sep-08 18:43:53

Do you not pronounce the H of hotel then??

MegBusset Fri 05-Sep-08 19:02:55

I hate an hotel, an historic etc. It's Hotel not Otel!

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