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  1. #1
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    Default A hotel, an hotel or an 'otel.

    So, which is correct (or both), "a hotel" or "an hotel"?

    I say a... before a word beginning with a consonant. I say an... before a word beginning with a vowel. So I say 'a hotel' and pronounce the h in hotel. But so many people say 'an hotel', especially if they're trying to sound posh.

    Which is correct? Is 'an hotel' correct only if you don't fully pronounce the h?

    ~Q

  2. #2
    Nightmare85's Avatar
    Nightmare85 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: A hotel, an hotel or an 'otel.

    ***Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.***

    Hello and welcome!

    I only know: "A hotel".

    If you need further advice regarding a/an, check out my thread:
    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/fr...-alphabet.html

    Cheers!

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: A hotel, an hotel or an 'otel.

    This argument has been raging for a while. When I was at school, I was told that the exception to the a/an rule, was that before an "h", you use "an". This, I believe, was something to do with many words which begin with an "h" coming from French, in which the "h" is silent, thereby effectively making the first letter of the word a vowel.

    This led to "an hotel" sounding like "an otel". However, a lot of people would use "an" but then also pronounce the "h", ending up with "an hotel" which always sounded wrong to me.

    I have heard "an historic building" etc too.

    As far as I'm aware, over the years, this usage of "an" has become more and more rare and now sounds very odd when it is used.

    For my part, I always say "a hotel", "a historic..." etc.

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: A hotel, an hotel or an 'otel.

    "An harmonica" is just wrong.

    (Most Americans pronounce the "h" in "hotel," so it's "a hotel.")

    Interestingly enough, I would say "a history book" but "an historic event."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A hotel, an hotel or an 'otel.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "An harmonica" is just wrong.

    (Most Americans pronounce the "h" in "hotel," so it's "a hotel.")

    Interestingly enough, I would say "a history book" but "an historic event."
    That is interesting. The only reason I can think of for that is where the stress falls on the next word.

    An hi-sto-ric event
    A hi-sto-ry

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A hotel, an hotel or an 'otel.

    Actually I'm pretty sure it's just an adequation with the original French une histoire, un historique.... the latter has an article that sounds close enough to 'an' so we kept an historic.... as in the 19th C., all educated people knew French and thought highly of it (in addition to getting half of English vocabulary from it earlier on).

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