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I sing in a choir and most of us are Spanish speakers. We're singing The First Noel, and last night someone questioned whether we should say "the East" pronounced as "thuh East" or "thee East."

The lyrics read:

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.

I looked up the rule, and it's not clear to me, as I cannot identify whether the 'e' in East is considered a consonant or a vowel sound. Compare 'East' and 'earth'. In the latter, it is clear that the pronunciation should be "thee earth", but the sound of 'e' in 'East' is different, so what should it be?

Also, when I looked up the song sang by other choirs, they say "thee East."

Can you please help and provide the rule that should be followed in this specific case or is it a case of poetic license?

marked as duplicate by Hellion, Edwin Ashworth, Davo, AndyT, Skooba Nov 9 '17 at 22:01

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Case of poetic license

I’m a native English speaker and have sung that carol most of my life

When we sing it it’s most like: Thee ee-eest


"East" begins with a vowel sound. You say "Thee East", not "Thuh East". You would say "Thuh West"

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