Why "a universe"? Hello! I've learned that I always have to write "an" when the word starts with an vowel. Why is it a universe and not an universe?
Mar 10, 2017 9:30 AM
Answers · 2
You should always use 'an' when the noun begins with a vowel SOUND. We are talking about SOUNDS, not spelling - this is phonological rule, not a writing rule. The word 'universe' is written with a letter that's a vowel, but it's pronounced with a consonant "you-niverse". . The same goes for all words beginning with 'uni' - for example, a uniform, a union, a university - and also for words beginning with 'eu', such as 'a euro'. Likewise, words which are spelt with a silent consonant are preceded by 'an' - for example, an hour (which sounds like 'an our' ) or an honour. Other examples of this 'sound not spelling rule' are letters of the alphabet. For example, the letter 'M' is a consonant, but it's pronounced 'em', so we say 'an MBA', for example. Also, remember how numbers are pronounced - we say 'an 18-year-old', because 'eighteen' begins with a vowel sound. So remember - it's all about how we say these words, not how we write them.
March 10, 2017
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