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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Use of 'an' before 'hotel' & 'hours'

    I am trying to find out the rule which says we should use 'an' before the words 'hotel' and 'hours' which then leads to the pronunciation of the word 'the' (as in 'thee') before those words.

    I am not aware of any other words starting in 'h' to which this rule applies, in fact I would suggest many English people would not use 'an' before the word 'hotel' now.

    A French friend (who is an English teacher of some 30+ years) asked me about it but I couldn't offer any suggestions.


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    #2

    Use of 'an' before 'hotel' & 'hours'

    I am trying to find out the rule for the use of 'an' before the two words 'hotel' and 'hours' which then leads to the pronunciation of the word 'the' (as in 'thee') before them.

    I am not aware of any other 'h' words which are treated as starting with a vowel? (On the subject of vowels, while looking for assistance with this question, I came upon the UCL website which suggests 'y' is a vowel. When did that happen?)

    I would suggest not many English people would know to use 'an' in front of hotel now, however, a French friend (an English teacher of some 30+ years) often poses these types of questions to me!

    Any assistance would be very gratefully received.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    re: Use of 'an' before 'hotel' & 'hours'

    Quote Originally Posted by MHFrance View Post
    I am trying to find out the rule for the use of 'an' before the two words 'hotel' and 'hours' which then leads to the pronunciation of the word 'the' (as in 'thee') before them.

    I am not aware of any other 'h' words which are treated as starting with a vowel? (On the subject of vowels, while looking for assistance with this question, I came upon the UCL website which suggests 'y' is a vowel. When did that happen?)

    I would suggest not many English people would know to use 'an' in front of hotel now, however, a French friend (an English teacher of some 30+ years) often poses these types of questions to me!

    Any assistance would be very gratefully received.
    'An' (and /thee/) are used in front of any "h" word with a silent 'h'.
    Most of these are French-derived - hours, honest, honour, heuristic,
    hors d'oeuvre ... there's dozens.
    'A' is used when the "h" is pronounced - mostly in Anglo-saxon words:
    horse, house, hit, hot, happening, happiness.

    English-speaking people are not consistent with some words, like hotel, historical, hysterical ... which can go either way.


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    #4

    Re: Pronunciation of 'the' before hotel/hours

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I am trying to find out the rule which says we should use 'an' before the words 'hotel' and 'hours' which then leads to the pronunciation of the word 'the' (as in 'thee') before those words.

    I am not aware of any other words starting in 'h' to which this rule applies, in fact I would suggest many English people would not use 'an' before the word 'hotel' now.

    A French friend (who is an English teacher of some 30+ years) asked me about it but I couldn't offer any suggestions.
    The words starting with "h" which also take "an" are all of French origin, for example:

    hotel
    herb
    hour
    history/historical

    In French, the "h" is silent, and the aspiration of the letter has come in because the English find it easier. An is optional, though "hour" is still a silent "h" so needs it. In the US, herb is still pronounced 'erb.

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