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  1. #1
    dqdqf is offline Newbie
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    Default "an MBA"-M is a vowel sound?

    Hi teachers,

    From what I know, vowel sounds are short and long versions of a, e, i, o, u, and the schwa. I would be grateful if you would explain to me why the M in MBA has a vowel sound? Which vowel sound is it? The only other exception that I know is with the silent H sound as in hour, honest, honor, etc. Wonder where I might be able to find a list of exceptions (words starting with a consonant but has a vowel sound therefore "an" must be used)?

    And also, "U" in university is not a vowel sound? Is it true whenever the first letter of a noun that begins with a "u" and pronounced as "you" then the article should be "a"?


    Thank you!

    DQ
    Last edited by dqdqf; 11-Jan-2012 at 02:40.

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: "an MBA"-M is a vowel sound?

    The letter "M" is pronounced with a vowel sound at the beginning. Like "em."

    You don't need a list of "exceptions," you just need to know how to pronounce a given word. If it begins with a vowel sound, use "an."

    You are correct that "university" starts with a "yoo" sound. So it is "a university."

    In contrast, "umbrella" starts with an "um" sound. So it's "an umbrella."

  3. #3
    dqdqf is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "an MBA"-M is a vowel sound?

    Got it, thank you SoothingDave!

  4. #4
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "an MBA"-M is a vowel sound?

    Quote Originally Posted by dqdqf View Post
    ... explain to me why the M in MBA has a vowel sound?
    [nat]

    MBA is a common acronym (as I'm sure you know) for Master of Business Administration. This particular acronym is pronounced by its individual letters, as in "em, be, ay" (sorry, I don't know the correct phonetic spelling). Other acronyms are pronounced as if they were actual words, like AIDS, or maser. Since maser is pronounced as a word, you would use the article "a" in a sentence. E.g. "A maser was used to guide the rocket, while an MBA student watched."

    FYI, not all acronyms fall in to separate camps. For example, an Individual Retirement Account is often called an IRA, as in "eye, are, ay" or as the word "an ira".

  5. #5
    DekiruShane is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "an MBA"-M is a vowel sound?

    It's "an" MBA because the M isn't pronounced 'mm.' It's pronounced 'em.' It's a vowel sound.

  6. #6
    dqdqf is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: "an MBA"-M is a vowel sound?

    I get it now, thank you all for your kind help!

  7. #7
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "an MBA"-M is a vowel sound?

    And words beginning with E- can have a consonant sound like U-: a European/an elephant.

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