Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A or An

So I've been distracted by this lately. I have a textbook that keeps doing this one thing that irks me. Someone tell me if I'm wrong. CNN does it too.

It isn't an historic or an historical anything is it? It would be an hour since the h isn't pronounced but unless we've all gone Cockney and we're dropping all h's at the beginning of words it should be a historic or a historical right? Bryan Garner agrees in the Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage but apparently there is disagreement.

Okay, so really I just wanted to procrastinate reading for this course.


Guy Fawkes said...

You are correct, sir. However, as with all modern English, it is stylistically and even grammatically acceptable to do just about anything. This includes the a/an confusion with "h" words.

GrayStar said...

Correct! That is also something that really bothers me. Although in many other languages like Spanish and French, among others, the h is treated differently, so this may have carried over in some way to modern English.

mootgoescow said...

Go with the "a". Using "an" just sounds weird and pretentious.

Justice Moustache said...

I think either is acceptable in writing, but if you're speaking and you pronounce it the British way--i.e. without the "h" sound, then it's "an historic."

What I meant to say was, "who fucking cares."