Re: Question for the All Knowing

Subject: Re: Question for the All Knowing
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- HOUSTON -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 09:46:50 -0500

In response to the "a history or an history" question, two list members

> Depends. Was that large thing that just drove by the window a truck or a
> lorry? ;{>}


> The determination is from the sound of the first letter, not whether it
> is a vowel.
> In Liverpool it might be 'istory, but in the U.S. it's History and
> clearly not a vowel sound.

I'm sure the British members of the list must be cringing about now. If
there's any place in the world where people (at least educated
professionals) don't say "'istory" it's England.

The rule is simple: Nouns beginning with a vowel use "an"; nouns
beginning with a consonant use "a." Because "h" can be either aspirated
or silent, it's tricky, but see Fowler, who contrasts the aspirated h
with the silent one (a history, an hour).

Stephen P. Victor Phone: (713) 513-2552
Technical Writer, Software Training Fax: (713) 513-2019
Schlumberger GeoQuest svictor -at- houston -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com
5599 San Felipe, Suite 1700
Houston, Texas 77056 USA

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Re: Masters in on-screen help?
Next by Author: Re: Question for the All Knowing
Previous by Thread: Re: Question for the All Knowing
Next by Thread: Re: Question for the All Knowing

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads