Do you have a euro?

I saw the above sentence and do not understand why you say "a" instead of "an"?

You say Do you have "an" umbrella?, but Do you have "a" pound?


Because "U" is here a semi- vowel/ semi - consonant. The same way "w" is a semi- vowel. When they stand at the beginning of a word, they operate as virtual consonants, so the "an" - which is only used for words whose first sound is a vowel- doesn't work.

A few words to exemplify this: union, university, yahoo, yellowish, yell, winner, wimp, walk, yen.

You would use "a" and not "an" with these words.

  • Wow! Now, I will look up semi-vowels and semi - consonant. Never heard of them. Thank you
    – Maria
    Jan 30 '18 at 13:38
  • I don't understand actually, because euro starts with an e, though it is silent. Can you explain a bit more?
    – Maria
    Jan 30 '18 at 13:39
  • @Maria: the use of "a" and "an" has nothing to do with how a word is spelled. It is based purely on pronunciation.
    – herisson
    Jan 30 '18 at 17:53
  • @sumelic Sadly not true. Some persist in using an before an aspirated hotel, etc. Jan 30 '18 at 18:20
  • @EdwinAshworth: I'm not sure how that relates to spelling. It can be explained as the use of "an" before /h/ in an unstressed syllable.
    – herisson
    Jan 30 '18 at 18:40

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