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I, not for the first time today, have a problem. You see, I want to write something about an Unicorn. Or should that be a Unicorn?

The only thing I remember learning on the road to achieving an A for English Language at GCSE - apart from the fact that I would quite like to stay behind one day and get to know Miss. Booth better - was that if a word begins with a vowel it should be preceded by the word AN and not simply A. (Assuming you want to use A or AN that is. If you just want to say 'THE unicorn' then this doesn't really apply to you). The problem is that 'AN unicorn' or 'AN utility room' sounds rather silly. How I have gone nearly 26 years without thinking about this before is no doubt testament to the fact that I rarely bring talk of unicorns or utility rooms to the table. I like to think myself more exciting than that. Obviously, I prefer to blog about it on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

But now I have thought about it. And it's very annoying. My research leads me to understand that the correct rule is borne out of pronunciation. If a word, such as Unicorn, sounds like it begins with a consonant then you use A. If a word, such as Umbrella, sounds like it begins with a vowel then you use AN. I know what you are thinking. Doesn't 'Unicorn' sound like it begins with a vowel though, i.e.: U? Oh, don't be so silly. Unicorn obviously sounds like it begins with a consonant, 'Yew'. And thus, that is why we should use A.

So what about 'Hour'? Well, we all say AN hour because it sounds as it if starts with 'Ow'. A vowel. With me so far? Good. So what about 'M.O.T'? We use AN because M sounds like 'Em'. And I thought French was a stupid language.

Right, as you were. My work here is done.

NB: I don't want to write about a Unicorn at all. I just needed a decent hook.

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Ali Bajwa
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  1. Great blog Jonathan, 2 things; Unicorns don't have hooks, they have pointy things, grammar is not spelled grammer like wot it is in your tags.

  2. Good spot. Obviously a test. And thanks.