"a/an" in English
Russell McMahon email (remove spam text)
>I wonder about this one. We would say, "I just finished a history lesson,
>it was an historic occasion. It was about a historic meeting between two
>I wonder if there are other H words which do weird things. It may be that
>historic lets the word after it choose the a/an... It could have
>something to do with being the subject/adjective, but neither of those fit
>up there. The last phrase could probably do as well with an an or an a.
>Several online english resources, but I haven't seen a mention of a/an
Haven't been following this thread - what fun you guys are having.
Historic is an exception because it is said differently on purpose! - why is
The clearly proper (someone will disagree :-) ) construct is "a historic
occason" and this almost actually sounds OK and some people WOULD say it
that way. It's said "an historic... " because it has become practice to say
it that way.
Another such example is "hotel".
Properly this should be a hotel but in actual \use once says "an hotel".
"We all went to an hotel for a gin and tonic".
This screams of wrongness but is technically how it should be said.
Possibly because the h is somewhat silent - not quite 'otel but not a full h
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