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I'm dutch and my english is just on conversation level acceptable. Now I have to write a letter and I'm having serious doubts about using "a" or "an" here. As the word "unique" opens with a vowel, it should have "an" with it, but as in the pronounciation sounds a "y" first, it sounds weird to say "an unique... whatever", so it doesn't feel right to write it either. Is this an exeption and is there a difference between writing and pronouncing, or am I completely wrong and is only "an unique" really correct? Thank you very much for your help!
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Guest,

Welcome to English Forums. I encourage you to register, though it is not required.

Your thinking is correct. I would use "a unique" as well.

You can learn more by reading [url="http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/determiners/determiners.htm#articles"]"The Articles" at this link[/url].

Hope this helps.

MountainHiker
I had the same question today. I would always say "a unique" but I received a written document using "an unique" and wondered whether it might be proper. I found the following which suggests that "a" is correct and "an" is incorrect, for the reasons you stated. Your English seems very good to me. Most American speakers of English would probably not know the answer. But here is the link I found.

http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/Determiners3.cfm

In any event, you could never be criticized for saying "a unique," and people would think "an unique" looks odd in writing, as I did.
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The rule is to choose "a' or "an" depending on whether the following word begins with a vowel sound, not an actual vowel. "A unique" is correct because "unique" begins with a consonant (y) sound. For more examples, see The use of an and a.
I was thinking more about this, and remembered that I had learned a "rule" that we should say "a history book:" but "an historic occasion." Is this based on the assumption tht the "h" in "historic" is not pronounced? Does anyone want to comment about how these two "rules" relate to each other?
You are right.

The word unique is pronounced 'yoo nique' and due to that sound its like the word begins with a y. As a result we write "a unique" instead of "an unique". Some other examples include; a university, an umbrella, a usual day, an unusual day.

(answer taken from this source: http://wordwhirled.blogspot.com/2005/12/unique-or-unique.html )
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A unique = American
An unique = British
AnonymousA unique = American

An unique = British

As a Brit I would argue the point here. I agree with everybody who stated it is the sound rather than the vowel itself that determines that article. A unique opportunity. In fact I have never heard somebody ever in the Uk say an unique. It even sounds wrong to my ear.

A unique, the un makes a hard vowel sound so you use a instead of an.
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