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"a unilateral" or "an unilateral"

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:00 am
Author: dyaoko
why AFP says "a unilateral" shouldnt it be "an" unilateral ? :oops:

please someobdy who knows english well answer

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:37 am
Author: Piling
Well before "u" (it sounds "yu") we should say "a". Like before "a Human" and a "European" I guess, it is quite the same sound "yu, hyu"...

But i suppose that a better English speaker could make the list of the case where we have to say "a" or "an".

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:14 pm
Author: Delal
Medya you are right on the basic principles of the grammar. If a word begins with a vowel the definite marker that precedes it is as "an" if it is a consonant the marker is an "a". However, the AFP example is an example of the definitie article rule being altered as part of the popular colloquial. "Unilateral" is most oftentimes used as a compound noun (ei. unilateral action, unilateral decision), and within that context and in order to increase the definite-ness of the noun statement the "n" from "an" is dropped. Unilateral is the only exception to the "a"/"an" rule that I have ever seen.

I hope that helps a little, it is one of those strangly complicative things in English.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:14 pm
Author: Piling
Well I've opened my Oxford Library of English usage Grammar and I read :


The form a is used before a word beginning a consonnant, or a vovel with a consonant sound :

ex : a man, a hat, a university, a European, a one-way street

The form an is used before words beginning with a vowel or word beginning with a mute h :

ex. : an apple, an island, an uncle, an egg, an hour

I should have to read that grammar more often than I do, especially when I post here and on KBU :o

PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:08 pm
Author: pepula
english rules change all the time in grammar. dont expect it to always follow a rule. to know excellent english, you have to know english-ie. be from an english speaking region(does not apply always though)