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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?

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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.

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  • 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. – Edwin Ashworth 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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