Which is the correct grammar usage: 'a unique' or 'an unique'?

Is there a rule about this in English? For example, "a unique soul" or "an chất lượng soul" Thank you. Best wishes fromPetra.


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College degree in Language và Literature & certification in Bilingual Education. More than 10 years of experience teaching English in Brazil.2 years ago
Hi Petra.

Bạn đang xem: Which is the correct grammar usage: 'a unique' or 'an unique'?

The correct answer is "a quality soul".The reason is that although the word "unique" begins with a vowel letter what really counts is that it begins with a consonant sound (yu), which is what determines between using the articles A or AN.So the rule to lớn knowing whether khổng lồ use A or AN is khổng lồ go by the beginning sound of the word and not the letter.Another example that gets students confused sometimes is the word "hour". It's correct khổng lồ say "an hour". Even though the word begins with a consonant, its' inicial sound is a vowel sound (ow).

Hope this was useful. ;)


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Dear Ana,Thank you for your detailed answer! I have a follow-up question: I'm writing a scientific paper và in my field, we talk about "limit of detection", which is abbreviated LOD. So, should I write "an LOD" (assuming that one will read the abbreviation aloud & it begins with the vowel sound "el") or "a LOD" (assuming that the reader will spell it out as "limit of detection", which begins with a consonant sound)?Thanks,Olivier


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Hi Oliver,So this rule applies lớn writing as well as the spoken word, so I would use "an". Also, if you happen to read from your paper or give a lecture, "an LOD" both sounds better & avoids confusion, as "a LOD" would sound like "a" was part of the acronym (ALOD).


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The actual way of distinguishing where to use either is in the sound of the word, that is, the first syllable. Words whose first syllable has a consonant sound then take up 'a'. An example of this is unique who first syllable is 'yoo' which is not a vowel sound. Therefore, it is 'a unique' as opposed khổng lồ 'an unique'.


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