Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 18th Mar 2010 19:05 UTC
Features, Office Since everybody in the technology world is apparently having a vacation, and nobody told me about it, we're kind of low on news. As such, this seems like the perfect opportunity to gripe about something I've always wanted to gripe about: a number of common mistakes in English writing in the comments section. I'll also throw in some tidbits about my native language, Dutch, so you can compare and contrast between the two.
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flotsam
Member since:
2006-01-04

It depends on whether the initial "h" is voiced or not.

With "hono(u)rable", you don't pronounce the "h", so "an" is appropriate.

With "historical", you do pronounce the "h", so you say "a historical". Unless you're in the habit of dropping your "H"s, Eliza Doolittle style, of course.

Reply Parent Score: 2

frood Member since:
2005-07-06

With "historical", you do pronounce the "h", so you say "a historical". Unless you're in the habit of dropping your "H"s, Eliza Doolittle style, of course.


That's quite insightful. I've often wondered why people use "an" when "a" is appropriate, and this would explain it. Dropping the H is quite common where I live (south London).

Reply Parent Score: 2

papertape Member since:
2008-05-04

I say "an historical event", but "a history lesson".

What's the difference? In "historical", the second syllable gets the stress, so the "h" on the first, unstressed syllable melts away. Hence the "an". But with "history", the first syllable is stressed and so the "h" gets fully pronounced, and therefore "a" is used. It's like Thom says - it's not the spelling, it's how the following word sounds.

Reply Parent Score: 1