I have never heard of “an” Utopia and took time to locate online an expert in correct use. It is Paul Brians who replied to my e-mail question on this as follows:
The rule is that if a noun begins with a consonant SOUND you precede it with”a.” Utopia begins with the consonant sound “Y” (as in “youth”) and not the vowel sound of “Y” as in “any”; so the phrase should be “a utopia.”
— Paul Brians
I’ve come across a few words before where it sounds strange using an even though the following word began with a vowel. Never knew the rule though. Learned something new today. =)
When I took Japanese in college and even now, I still seem to have trouble with the M’s, and distinguishing between letters that look similar, such as め & ぬ.
Spelling It Out
I before c,
Except after c,
Or when sounded as a,
As in neighbor or weigh
Examples: beige, ceiling, conceive, field, priest, receive, shield, sleigh, weight
Exceptions: ancient, being, caffeine, either, foreign, leisure, protein, reimburse, science, seize, society, sovereign, species, sufficient, weird.
From The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, pages 1-2.
I was never taught those last two lines of the above rhyme.
I learned something new!
Today I went over the Japanese alphabet in Hiragana. I decided that for each day of study, I would only go over “four” consonants/rows from the back of Japanese For Busy People.
The S-series I’ve always had trouble with remembering, but it’s getting better. I was just a little rusty, but there’s still a long way to go. Must practice my penmanship!