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General Questions

Question:
I recently saw a reference to "an historical occasion.” I was always taught to use "a” before a hard h  (a house, a helper) and "an” before an h that isn’t pronounced (an hour, an herb). Has the rule changed?

Answer:
You are correct in your thinking that "a” should be used before "history” or any other derivations of the word.  The popularity of "an” comes from British usage whereby a word beginning with a weakly pronounced h is preceded by an. Thus you might hear "an historian, "an habitual offender,” or  "an heroic ode.” In America today, the use of "a” is widespread and definitely preferred.


 

 

 

 

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