[Standards] OTR

Kevin Smith kevin.smith at isode.com
Sat Nov 15 11:15:14 UTC 2014

On 14 Nov 2014, at 22:51, Dave Cridland <dave at cridland.net> wrote:
> Well, we're so far off topic now it hardly matters.
> "An horrible" is correct English, like "an historical", and so on. But nobody does it.

Well, kinda. One uses ‘An’ where there's a spoken vowel sound. Words beginning with ‘h’ where it’s silent should effect the use of ‘an’, words beginning with ‘h’ where it’s sounded should cause an ‘a’ to be used.

At least in modern English the ‘h’ in ‘historical’ is sounded, so it’s correct to write ‘a’ rather than ‘an’ preceding it. I think that historically the ‘h’ in some words was less pronounced than it is today, leading to a historical use of ‘an (h)istorical use’.

Or, in other words, don’t worry about it, use ‘a’ if you’d pronounce the ‘h’ or ‘an’ if you’d elide it.

Disclaimer: I am not a language lawyer, please consult your local grammarian.


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