RE: a vs. an

Subject: RE: a vs. an
From: "Brady, Joy" <JBrady -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2000 12:51:12 -0500

Eek! "...between you and I" is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.
Brrrrrrgh! Or how about, "Give it to Jeff or myself." Yikes. I checked 2
sources:

Chicago Manual of Style agrees with Aoidin (as do I) on "a historical" for
American English.

For British English, Fowler says that "the thoroughly modern thing to do is
to use a (never an) together with an aspirated h (a habitual, a heroic, a
historical, a Homeric, a hypothesis), but not to demur if others use an with
minimal or nil aspiration given to the following h (an historic...)" He
goes on to say that "At the present time, especially in written English,
there is abundant evidence for the use of an before habitual, historian,
historic(al)..., but the choice of form remains open."

Seems like you just can go wrong with "a historical" in written form. It
does seem easier to say it the other way, though. Not just as an affection,
now that I've tried it out, I rather like it! "An 'istorical moment, an
'ysterical boss, an gussied up 'arlot." Wait a second... let me work on
this...

> ----------
> From: Aoidìn Scully[SMTP:ascully -at- flexicom -dot- com]
> Reply To: Aoidìn Scully
> Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2000 10:59
> To: TECHWR-L
> Subject: RE: a vs. an
>
> No, it's just wrong. USed by the same people who say '...between you and
> I...'. ;)
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelly Parr [mailto:KParr -at- c-bridge -dot- com]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2000 3:00 PM
> To: TECHWR-L
> Subject: a vs. an
>
>
> 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?
>
> TIA
> Kelly
> =======================================
> Kelly Parr
> Technical Writer
> 617-528-1744
> kparr -at- c-bridge -dot- com
>
>
>
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