This question already has an answer here:

I am unsure whether to use "a" or "an" in the following sentence:

Video games have become a/an ubiquitous part of American culture.

For me, saying the two sentences out loud makes "an" seem like the right choice but Microsoft Word proofing disagrees.

marked as duplicate by Jim, Hellion, Mitch, Mari-Lou A, tchrist Oct 20 '15 at 2:09

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  • Which grammar check version are you using -- UK or US English? – chasly from UK Oct 18 '15 at 19:19
  • US English version – terminex9 Oct 18 '15 at 19:20
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    Depends on whether you say youbiquitous like the majority of people nowadays, or oobiquitous. Both are equally correct (for now). – Hans Adler Oct 18 '15 at 20:54
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    @chaslyfromUK- I believe it's a duplicate because the rule stated in the linked answer still applies. It's the consonant sound or the vowel sound that should determine which you choose. – Jim Oct 18 '15 at 21:10
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    No-one says 'oobiqitus' and no-one ever has as far as I know. This is a different phenomenon. Some people did and some people still do use 'an' in front of certain words beginning with 'u'. It is pronounced 'an you-biquitous'. I'll see if I can find examples of other such words. I'm pretty sure that Carl Sagan used to talk like this. – chasly from UK Oct 18 '15 at 21:18

This isn't straightforward. In my version of English, I would say 'a ubiquitous'. It seems that the grammar checkers in MS Word agree -- both in US and UK English.

However, take a look at this ngram of published works.

Google ngram: a ubiquitous,an ubiquitous

You can see that a changeover occurred in the late 1880s but both versions survive up to the present day.

enter image description here

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    That's bizarre. I wonder how all of the people using "an ubiquitous" pronounce it? – sumelic Oct 18 '15 at 20:55
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    They probably pronounce it "oobiquitous". I have heard several people say it that way. – terminex9 Oct 23 '15 at 21:29

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