ubiquitous problem

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Allegromoderato2, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Allegromoderato2

    Allegromoderato2 Senior Member

    Portuguese
    Could I use ubiquitous to refer to a restricted area? For example, if I want to say that violence is a problem in Latin America, would this sentence be correct?:
    "Violence is an ubiquitous problem in Latin America. Especially in countries which suffer from drug-related crimes, such as Colombia, Brazil and El Salvador."


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Yes, you could use the word like that. But it must be a ubiquitous problem, not an.
     
  3. Allegromoderato2

    Allegromoderato2 Senior Member

    Portuguese
    Why?
     
  4. Archilochus Senior Member

    New Mexico
    American English
    Why? Well, because of the vagaries of English. While it's true that we generally use 'an' instead of 'a' before words that begin with a vowel, in this case, 'ubiquitous', we don't. It's really a matter of euphony. It doesn't sound good our ears to us 'an' here.
     
  5. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    The word "ubiquitous" starts with a consonant sound - /j/. "a you bik quit us prob lem" not "an oo bik quit us prob lem".
     
  6. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Because of the basic rule regarding the choice of when to use "a" and when to use "an": it has absolutely nothing to do with spelling, and everything to do with the actual sound of the word when it is spoken.

    A uniform.
    An umbrella
    A usual request
    An unusual request.
     
  7. Allegromoderato2

    Allegromoderato2 Senior Member

    Portuguese
    Thanks!:oops::thumbsup:
     
  8. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    As GWB wrote. Similarly, "an FBI agent" ('eff-bee-eye'), a euro ('you-row), a one-man band ('won-man band')...
     
  9. Archilochus Senior Member

    New Mexico
    American English
    Yikes! "It doesn't sound good our ears to us 'an' here."

    How did that happen? "It doesn't sound good to our ears to have 'an' here." (Or sumthin' like that...)
     
  10. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Yes, "to" is needed, but for "us", read "use" (only a typo). :)
     
  11. dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    "Ubiquitous" means "everywhere", though it may require different syntax is some sentences.

    Both those words can apply to a limited area, if that is stated in the sentence.

    In American cities, guns are ubiquitous.
    In American cities, guns are everywhere.

    Violence is a ubiquitous problem in Latin America.
    Violence is a problem everywhere in Latin America.
     
  12. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Thans, doji; we (including yours truly :oops: ) were getting a bit off-topic (the OP was a vocabulary question - although Allegro introduced the diversion in #3).
     

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