a vs. an

Subject: a vs. an
From: Kelly Parr <KParr -at- c-bridge -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L (E-mail)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2000 10:00:05 -0500

Can anyone tell me the grammatical rule for using:

"an historical moment."

I hear this a lot on public radio, etc., and I'm pretty sure it's wrong, but
I'm having a debate with a colleague.

The typical rule is to use "a" before words beginning with a consonant or
consonant sound (including "y" and "w" words) and "an" before words
beginning with a vowel or vowel sound. So why "an historical moment"? I'm
assuming it's pronounced "an 'istorical..." Is this a British convention
that we've taken into American usage?

Kelly Parr
Technical Writer
kparr -at- c-bridge -dot- com

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