Lôn
Lv 7

If 'u' is a vowel then why is it 'a unicorn' and not 'an unicorn'?

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  • 5 months ago
    Best answer

    u in unicorn is not a vowel it is constant , you spell it as "you" not as "an" as in "unnecessary"

    Vowels and consonants are sounds, not letters. Depending on your accent and how thinly you slice them, there are about 20 vowels and 24 consonants.

    The difference between vowels and consonants

    A vowel is a speech sound made with your mouth fairly open, the nucleus of a spoken syllable.

    A consonant is a sound made with your mouth fairly closed.

    When we talk, consonants break up the stream of vowels (functioning as syllable onsets and codas), so that we don’t sound like we’ve just been to the dentist for four fillings and the anaesthetic hasn’t worn off yet.

    Consonants require more precise articulation than vowels, which is why children find them harder to learn, and often end up in speech therapy after having become so cross at not being understood that they’ve started hitting people.

    Only a few children with severe speech sound difficulties (often called dyspraxia or apraxia) sometimes need therapy to help them produce vowel sounds correctly.

    Most syllables contain a vowel, though vowel-like consonants can occasionally be syllables. And to complicate matters, many English vowels are technically two or three vowels shmooshed together.

    • John P
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      Also - a union; a uniform; a unit. All start, in Britain at least, with a "y" sound, as in "you".

  • 5 months ago

    When I looked out of the window of the old cottage I was staying in on holiday in Ireland, I saw, in the stillnes of the silent early morning mist, a white Unicorn. It was so beautiful it must have been the reincarnation of some long forgotten Druid or Brehon. I was enthused with wonder at the sight of this amazing animal that looked at me full it eyes with its own huge green eyes. Then the baby cried out and it seemed to simply vanish as silently as when it came. No one believed me at the time. They still don't but It's true.

    • Lôn
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      You should have put some more lemonade on the whiskey!!

  • geezer
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    Although the rule is ''a before a word that starts with a consonant'' and ''an before a word that starts with a vowel'' there are exceptions ..

    ''a unicorn'' for example .. and ''an hotel''.

    It's to do with the 'sound of the word' as well .

    Unicorn has a 'YOU' sound at the start (not a vowel) .. but Umbrella doesn't.

    Hotel has an 'O' sound at the start (a vowel) .. but House doesn't.

    • Lôn
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      It's A hotel, not an hotel!!

      Hotel does NOT have an 'o' sound at the start....the H is voiced H-otel NOT Otel.
      Honour is different,as the H is not voiced...onour. So it's AN honour.
      You wouldn't say an hand would you, you should NOT say 'an hotel' !

  • 5 months ago

    Hello

    Either way people know what you are saying

    Enjoy your day

    • Lôn
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      Ddatz knot thee poynt...You can probably read that rubbish...it doesn't mean we shouldn't write correctly.

      Halve eh nise deh!

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  • 5 months ago

    Because unicorns don't exist

  • 5 months ago

    If the vowel is silent, then you use the "AN". If the vowel has a strong U sound, then use "A"

    So Unicorn (for example), has a strong U sound. You use A

    So words such as uncle or umpire, has a soft U sound, so you use AN.

  • 5 months ago

    Vowels are not always vowels and consonants are not always consonants. It's complicated and has to do with how the word is sounded. I see someone else has already provided a good answer.

  • 5 months ago

    Because we say 'a YOOnicorn' but 'an umbrella'.

    • bluebellbkk
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      Why are you saying that the 'e' in Easter sounds like 'yee'? It doesn't. It sounds (in combination with 'a') like 'ee'. There is no 'y' sound before it as in 'yoo-nicorn'.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Because it's pronounced with a 'y' sound as in the beginning of say 'yellow'. It's pronounced with a non-vowel sound. Also, words that are spelled beginning with a consanant like honor but pronounced as a vowel are treated as a vowel, so you say 'It is AN honor...'

    • Lôn
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      So it's 'a Easter bunny' as the 'e' has the consonant sound as in 'yellow'?

  • oikoσ
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    It's AN Honor to answer your question. The determining factor is the sound, not the letter. If you went by the letter, you'd have trouble tripping over your tongue. And what would you do with the semivowels ("w" and "y")?

    • oikoσ
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      Right. There are long and short vowel sounds. The same with the other vowels. Here's an interesting exercise. Put different letters in front of "ough" and listen to how the sound changes.

  • James
    Lv 7
    5 months ago

    because it's an umbrella

    • Lôn
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      So it's 'a Easter bunny' as the 'e' has the consonant sound as in 'yellow'?

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