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Thread: a/an

  1. blouen's Avatar
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    #1

    Question a/an

    shall we use the article "a or an" before words that start with "h" as in high, honor, hospital?

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    #2

    Re: a/an

    Say, 'Should we use.......?'

    If the "h" is pronounced, use 'a'; if it is not pronounced, use "an".

    a high score...an honour I didn't expect...a hospital

  2. blouen's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a/an

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Say, 'Should we use.......?'

    If the "h" is pronounced, use 'a'; if it is not pronounced, use "an".

    a high score...an honour I didn't expect...a hospital

    Thanks!

  3. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Question Re: a/an

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Say, 'Should we use.......?'

    If the "h" is pronounced, use 'a'; if it is not pronounced, use "an".

    a high score...an honour I didn't expect...a hospital
    What about 'a historic event' and 'an historic event'? Both are used interchangeably, but I can't figure out why!

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    #5

    Re: a/an

    In some cases, that is because some people don't pronounce the "h", thus 'an _istoric event'. However, I think some people like to say 'an historic event', for whatever reason. Maybe they just like that sound more. Sometimes it is best just not to worry about why certain things are said.

  4. engee30's Avatar
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    #6

    Smile Re: a/an

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    ...Sometimes it is best just not to worry about why certain things are said.
    That's true. But, you know, it's my curiosity that makes me want to get to know about something. Now, one might say, Curiosity killed the cat. Well, it's the cat that was killed by curiosity. I'm not a cat, so I don't care...

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    #7

    Re: a/an

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    That's true. But, you know, it's my curiosity that makes me want to get to know about something. Now, one might say, Curiosity killed the cat. Well, it's the cat that was killed by curiosity. I'm not a cat, so I don't care...
    I don't mean that you can't be curious. What I mean is that different people can have different reasons for saying something that you don't say because you think it is not standard English. So who knows why they say that!
    If one day you hear someone say "an historic....", you can ask that person why (s)he said that.

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    #8

    Re: a/an

    Pronounciation (phonological factors) is at work here too, at the level of morphology.(We discussed previously, in another thread, its impact at the level of syntax).

    My knowledge of a/an before a word beginning with 'h' is that 'an'' is used in front of 'h'-initial adjectives whenever the corresponding /h/-sound is devoiced. So, both a and an are (so far) accepted depending on whether it 'h'is a voiced or devoiced (voiceless) consonant.
    Last edited by bianca; 03-Jul-2007 at 22:04.

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