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    Smile Pamela

    If an is used for such h words as historical, is it used for other h words such as hysterical? What is the rule?

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    Re: Pamela

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • United States
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      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211

    Re: Pamela

    It's quite logical: If it sounds like a vowel, it needs "an" - so the "n" sound in "an" separates the "a" from the next vowel sound in the word.

    You can't go by spelling. You have to go by sound. If you pronounce "history" as "his-stery" then you don't have a vowel sound. If you pronounce it as "'is-stery" then you have the "i" vowel sound.

    Once starts with a "w" soound, so it's: A once-in-a-lifetime
    Ounce starts with a "ow" or vowel O sound: An ounce of prevention.


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