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Mr Roberts was looking for a pet. He visits the local pet shop to see his options. He enters the shop and is greeted by the pet shop owner, who doesn't speak English very well.

Mr Roberts asks which pets are available. The pet shop owner Mr Smith gives a pamphlet which has a list from oldest at the top to newest at the bottom. The pamphlet went

  1. Dog
  2. Cat
  3. Snake
  4. Hamster
  5. Sheep
  6. Parrot

"I has the usual pets, a cat, an dog, a snake. But I not think these suit you. There is however a ewe exception."

Mr Roberts, thinking that the shop owner was mocking him for being raised on a farm, angrily told him he didn't want a sheep and stormed out.

Mr Smith, bemused, went back to the counter.

Which animal was Mr Smith actually suggesting?

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    $\begingroup$ Did he say "a ewe" or "an ewe"? $\endgroup$ – KeyboardWielder May 29 '16 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ Looking at the grammar mistakes in the rest of his sentence, perhaps he meant "there are however a few exceptions" $\endgroup$ – 2012rcampion May 29 '16 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ "a ewe exception" = "a new egg - 'seption" ? Not knowing where to go from here though... $\endgroup$ – BmyGuest May 30 '16 at 9:01
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    $\begingroup$ @KeyboardWielder you are so close to the answer $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 30 '16 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil: I didn't post an answer because I thought there might be more at play, like "newest option". Oh well... $\endgroup$ – KeyboardWielder May 30 '16 at 17:48
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Building on KeyboardWielder's comment (and introducing a retcon in response to comments about the grammaticality of a ewe):

As an English matter, I think the argument is settled by the pronunciation of ewe starting with a 'y' sound, and not with a glottal stop. Looking at the statistics via Ngram clinches it - although an ewe isn't unheard of, the texts with a ewe are more numerous (and judging from the first page of search hits in each case, more authoritative in a majority of cases).

Retcon:

Mr Smith, however, wasn't aware of this. He vaguely remembered a rule about using an before vowels but he thought that surely, in an yew arrival (a new arrival), "y" isn't a vowel. Also, wasn't he trying to highlight exceptions to the unsuitability of his pets? Congratulating himself for catching both issues in time, he therefore spoke of a yew exception, which was heard as a ewe exception.

Leading to the answer:

Since the list contains the "newest at the bottom", Mr Smith was trying to suggest the parrot.

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    $\begingroup$ I can understand the answer, but surely even lateral thinking puzzles need to be answered based on the text provided. If KeyboardWielder had not commented, how would one justify that he must have said "an"? $\endgroup$ – shree.pat18 May 30 '16 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ Except that 'an university' is incorrect, so that rule is not as simple as stated. Interesting note about orange BTW, did not know that! $\endgroup$ – shree.pat18 May 30 '16 at 10:03
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    $\begingroup$ "A ewe" would be correct because "ewe" doesn't begin with a vowel sound, even if it does begin with a vowel letter. Just like we say and write "a unit", "a uniform", "a one-week vacation", etc. I don't see how this answer works. $\endgroup$ – hvd May 30 '16 at 13:28
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    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil actually English grammar, such as it is, has nothing to say about a/an and the spelling of a word. It all depends on the pronunciation. Exclusively. That's why you have an NGO for example. Read this answer for a professional linguist's take. $\endgroup$ – terdon May 30 '16 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil and others - I've retconned my answer for your viewing comfort. :) $\endgroup$ – Lawrence May 30 '16 at 16:26
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It is because

Mr. Smith realized that 'ewe' means 'Green' in Yoruba language and felt that shop owner might be referring to a green parrot. Therefore, the primary language of the shop owner might be Yoruba.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice thinking but the language you need here is English. Or to be precise English Grammar, if a bit twisted. The parrot might have something to do with it though... $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 29 '16 at 19:41
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Was Mr. Smith…

making a “you exception”, i.e., a special offer just for Mr. Roberts?

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry again nice thinking but no. I'll change the question $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil May 29 '16 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ This was my first thought. But the shop owner had already said "But I not think these suit you." $\endgroup$ – manshu May 29 '16 at 19:44
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Considering that Ewe is capitalized in the title,

Might he be referring to the Ewe language?

In that case, the animal Mr Smith suggested could be

the hamster. In this and this dictionary, every other animal name translates to Ewe (avu, dadi, Ɛda, ako, ale). As far as I know, hamsters aren't native to Ghana, so that might be the reason for that.

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Was the answer

Either a hamster or a parrot?

Because

Dog, Cat and snake does not suit him

and base on the given scenario we know that

the pet owner is not that good in english

Maybe

He was saying that the other animals on the pamphlet with the exception of sheep could be a good choice

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1
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Perhaps:

The second cat

I think Mr. Smith means that there is:

a wee exception (small omission), and he starts listing all animals from oldest to newest, skipping the second cat.

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