To the best of my understanding 'an' is used when a word starts with a vowel (an occasion), or sounds like it does (an honour). Ukulele sounds like it start with a u, so why isn't it prefixed with an 'an' ?

  • 1
    I don't think it's about a uniform or an uniform--it's about how ukulele is pronounced. Everyone knows how to pronounce uniform, so the question is do you pronounce ukulele the same way? Wikipedia says: The ukulele (/juːkəˈleɪliː/ ew-kə-lay-lee, from Hawaiian: ʻukulele [ˈʔukuˈlɛlɛ] (oo-koo-leh-leh). So it's pronounced "yoo-" in English but "oo-" in its original Hawaiian. Mar 13 '16 at 19:03
  • I downvoted because there are already many complete explanations of when to use a and when to use an, including on this site, so I don't think this question is useful.
    – herisson
    Mar 13 '16 at 19:08
  • @StevenLittman: Regardless of how ʻukulele is pronounced in Hawaiian, all the sources I have checked list only pronunciations starting with /j/ for the English word ukulele.
    – herisson
    Mar 13 '16 at 19:09
  • @sumelic, This wasn't a question about when to use a and when to use an, I've stated in my description I already understand that, it was about Ukulele in particular. Although I did figure out the answer by looking at the answer pointed to in the duplicates, it mentioned palatial approximate, reading on which led me to another answer's discussion english.stackexchange.com/a/155/24143 , which answered my question, but it's not as straightforward as "already answered"
    – ffledgling
    Mar 13 '16 at 19:52
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    The answers to the previous question say you use "a" before words starting with a consonant, but that is only helpful if you know whether "ukulele" starts with a consonant. What if it starts with a non-syllabic vowel, or a semi-vowel, or a glide? What then?
    – Greg Lee
    Mar 13 '16 at 21:31

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