I've just learned we should use the indefinite article "a" with adjectives beginning with "un-", "eu-". So, "a unisex" would be pretty fine, wouldn't it?

The reason why I posted this question is a little remark in the materials I'd found. The answer was "an unisex".


1 Answer 1


In choosing a or an, the only thing that matters is the sound following the article, whether it's an adjective, a noun, or what: a for consonant sounds, and an for vowel sounds. There aren't different rules for different parts of speech.

One of the confusing things about English is that the same combinations of letters can sometimes be pronounced in different ways depending on the context. (By the way, my phonetic spellings are based on my Northeastern US accent, but the important parts regarding this issue should be the same everywhere.)

And it happens that unisex is like unicorn, for the reasons that StoneyB mentions. So the appropriate article is a: a unisex _____ - because the y sound is considered a consonant sound.

Eu is another one that can be pronounced two ways:

but it's always a y sound when it's at the beginning of a word, so it's always a European vacation, a euphemistic explanation, and so forth.

  • 1
    +1 ...and the choice of article will reflect variations in pronunciation. Some people say "parsley is a Herb," while others will omit the H sound, and say "parsley is an [h]erb." In writing, therefore, either "a herb" or "an herb" could be correct. The only thing that matters is the sound
    – Adam
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 22:41
  • variations in pronunciation? I don't think it's right to pronounce herb with a silent 'h' and apply the article 'an' to it.
    – Ash
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 6:17
  • YER-up? What part of the US are you from? :) Is that how they say it in NYC? In PA, we say YOUR-up.
    – TimR
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 9:36
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo - Yes, I'm from NYC. Of course, here, there isn't much difference between "yer" and "your" anyway! If you specify YOUR-up it looks to me like you're emphasizing the YOOOOR- ness of it, although I don't know if that's quite what you intend.
    – stangdon
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 21:59

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