While doing science homework, I came across something I found strange. The term "eukaryotic" had a as the article instead of an. I was looking at:

A eukaryotic cell...

I learned that if a word started with a vowel, it should be an instead of a. My bio textbook says otherwise.

Why is this?


You use "a" if you pronounce the following letter as a consonant sound; you use "an" to make the pronunciation easier if the following letter is a vowel or silent or liaises. Examples:

A judge

An egg

An historic victory (pronounced "an istoric"; "h" is silent)

A historic victory (pronounced with "h")

The term "eukaryotic" is pronounced "you", not "ew"; therefore, it should be "a". If "eukaryotic" were pronounced "ew", it would be "an". As you see above in the example with "historic", it depends on the pronunciation and some words can use either "a" or "an" depending upon how the person might choose to pronounce the respective words.

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