Re: a vs. an

Subject: Re: a vs. an
From: Chris Kowalchuk <chris -at- bdk -dot- net>
To: Kelly Parr <KParr -at- c-bridge -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 12:44:50 -0500

> Is this a British convention
> that we've taken into American usage?

Yes, basically, it is. It is "correct" to use "an" in front of "h",
because the "h" is considered to be aspirated, and not a full consonnant
for the purposes of speech.

This holds more true for us if you think about a word like "honour". "It
was an honour to meet him..."

I base my use of a/an on the context of the spoken word. I would not use
"an" in front of a long "u", for example. I would not go to "an
university." I would, however, go to "an open house." I suppose this is
because the long "u" has more of a consonnantal character to it--can't
really distinguish between "u" and "you".

So, would you have a historical moment, or an historical moment. You
could validly argue it either way, and in the end, it depends on how you
feel it should be pronounced.

Chris Kowalchuk

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