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  1. #1
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    Default Wishing you an happy birthday?

    As in the correct use of 'an' before 'hotel' or 'hospital', although falling out of use, is it strictly correct to use 'an' before 'Happy Birthday'?

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Wishing you an happy birthday?

    Most English speakers would not say "an hospital" or "an hotel." Some English dialects feature the elimination of the "h" sound at the beginning of these words, so those speakers say, "an ospital" or "an otel" and it sounds perfectly natural.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wishing you an happy birthday?

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    Most English speakers would not say "an hospital" or "an hotel." Some English dialects feature the elimination of the "h" sound at the beginning of these words, so those speakers say, "an ospital" or "an otel" and it sounds perfectly natural.

    I certainly agree that most English speakers would not use 'an' in this case but that does not mean that there was not some rule that required it (antiquated or otherwise) and my question applies to whether there may be an exception in some cases, such as, "an happy birthday".

    I hope this makes sense. I am really just curious as to how far this rule applies - if indeed it really does anymore since I appreciate that the language is evolving and hard and fast rules change over time too.

  4. #4
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Wishing you an happy birthday?

    The rule is pretty constant:

    If you pronounce the word with an initial vowel sound, use the article an.
    If you pronounce the word with an initial consonant sound, use the article a.

    The rule is constant; it is the pronounciation that changes.

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