Poll: I pronounce the letter 'H'...

I pronounce the letter 'H'...

as 'aitch'.
as 'haitch'.

Statistics Poll Stats

This Poll:

  • Votes: 5,229
  • Comments: 137
  • Added: December 2006


mark purssell

I find that people who mispronounce the letter H actually think they are correct and that they think the 'aitch' pronunciation is a slang version.

a guy

H is the eighth letter in the Latin alphabet. Its name in English is spelled aitch in most dialects, though in Irish, Indian and British English[citation needed] it is generally haitch


The correct way I was taught & my Mum says (who was a head teacher - now 78) - also the Queen says 'aitch' I think the problem comes from recent education when the children are taught the 'phoneme' way of pronouncing letters.... 'huh' for house... so then they say 'haitch' instead... However it may also be a regional dialect thing!! My Mum was from Yorks, at work the guys are from SW England say 'haitch' I am always correcting my 9yr old twins to say 'aitch' but they swear I am wrong! Hey Ho!!

Laura Hancock

It drives me absolutely mad and I agree with Mark, when it is mispronounced they do actually think that 'haitch' is correct. My blood runs cold every time I hear it.


I hate it when people pronounce H with haitch! It drives me mad! It's aitch! Whenever someone says it to me, for example when spelling something, I always repeat it back correctly!

Toby Bartlett

my friend Charlie and I one day said to each other that if we hear anyone ever say 'haitch' we would correct, under any circumstances and regardless of our pedantry. We are 13 years old and I think people should know by now it is 'aitch'.

Jan Bell

The way I teach my students is to tell them that you don;t pronounce the letter 'm' - 'mem, nor 's' - 'sess', and so on through the rest of the alphabet - so why should you pronounce 'h' as 'haitch'? I refused to allow 'haitch' in my classrooms because I couldn't stand it!

Karen Bennett



Apparently if you say "haitch" in Australia, it indicates a likelihood that you were educated in a Catholic school. Considering that a Catholic education is associated with bigotry and ignorance, most educated Australians prefer to say "aitch."


I would disagree with the statement related to Australia above, in fact consider it plain wrong! I was educated in a Catholic school in Australia, and taught to say 'aitch'. Me thinks previous a bitter lapsed RC

Robert Warrington

Well, each person is unique, so imagine if everyone said every thing with the same accent (it would be awfully dull). Any how, I had best run off, nanny is calling.

Simon Romin

Lads - let's face it - it's pronounced 'haitch'.


i came on this site as i was disturbed - having had a conversation with my son as soon as he could learn to talk (he is now 6 and just started year 2). - he informed me that his teacher told him he is pronouncing it wrong and it should be haitch!! lol - i will be writing a letter....

Sam Nighthawk

You are all ridiculous and it is pronounced 'aitch'. Contrary to popular belief, 'aitch' is the correct pronunciation of the mighty letter 'h' By the way kiss RULEZ!


What's 'incorrect' pronunciation? This is English we're talking about, the global language. I think when it comes to English (and especially English people) there is a terrible amount of language arrogance. In RP it is pronounced 'aitch'. That's not to say it isn't pronounced 'haitch' in other accents. That one is considered 'correct' and another 'incorrect' says more about the critics arrogance than anything else


I'm of English/Irish decent. I like the 'haitch'.

rob mack

quite simple people, let's stop being ingorant, if it's spelt "aitch", then that's the correct pronunciation too

Laraby Yates

Aitch!!!! for me (6th generation Australian).
I work in tv and High Definition is- "Aitch Dee"!! an HD signal not a HD
Haitch is for the uneducated. Don't be tricked into saying it just because you're hearing it more often.
see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H

Deborah Cameron

I found this poll while looking for something to educate my colleagues who continually mispronounce H as Haitch. It's actually disappointing to see so many people are not only pronouncing it wrongly but are also ignorant enough to try to persuade others that they are correct. Check out the English dictionary, it's Aitch, without a shred of doubt!


"H" is spelled "aitch" and should be pronounced in this way. Most people who pronounce it "haitch" tend to drop their aitches in normal converstaion!


I'm Australian and I pronounce it 'Aitch'. However when I say HD (high Definition) I tend to say 'Haitch Dee'

jason NI/UK

It's "Aitch" any thing less is destroying the English language. Come to Belfast and play the "H" game, its great fun.


i say Haitch. Im australian. I pronounce H in words two seperate ways. H strongly in words such as how, he, hero. and softly as in honour, hour etc. I think "aitch" is the pronounciation of the softer H as it was originally used to teach the sound of the letter. the standardization of spelling happened a few hundred years ago and someone decided "aitch". alot of english accents pronounce all H sounds softly maybe thats why.


"Aitch" is correct Oxford English. "Haitch" is more recent slang. The latter irritates me no end.

Katie Howe

Nothing irritates me more than people who pronounce it "haitch"....
I have to confess however I was guilty of doing it until my lovely boyfriend politely corrected me.

alka singh


I have always pronounced it "aitch". Let's not forget language is always evolving. Americans say & spell "Mum" differently. I don't think this really matters. I can see that saying "haitch" makes it logical and easy to teach people to read English. In saying this it annoys me when people pronounce the word "kilometre" incorrectly.


I say 'haitch' and I think it sounds better that way. That was the way I was taught by both my parents and my teaches so that is the way I will say it. I'm from Australia and educated in a public primary school - not Catholic.

Dolce Edallineare

I like it. I think I'll take it up

Dolce Edallineare

In fact, I think I'll start pronouncing W as "Wouble-U"


I was raised in England/Ireland and both me and my family have always said "haitch". Now i live in the U.S. where everyone says "aitch" . I say get over yourselves!

Ally B

I googled it as I was wondering if I was saying "h" incorrectly
Its funny it seems to be so controversial
To me it doesn't matter whether you say "aitch" or "haitch" I know you mean "h"
but I can understand how it may annoy some people I dont like it when the t is pronounced in often - its silent!
I''m Aussie, my parents are Aussie
my dad sells electronics including televisions and he says "haitch-d"
my mum says "aitch"
I say "haitch"
I was taught in a Catholic school
I remember different teachers saying it either way
I also pronounce "z" as "zee" whereas others say "zed"
mum blames Sesame Street maybe its all their fault
and as far as im concerned my question is unanswered

Meg Laws

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of 1964 gives the spelling the letter H as "ache" or "aitch" - when I was teaching it used to really annoy me when children (and some teachers) said "haitch". I'm 71 years old and when I was a child only children from the Catholic Schools said "haitch" - we knew where they went to school by this!


''H'' can only be pronounced one and that is ''AITCH''. The impression that is given by anyone pronouncing H as ''HAITCH'' is one of lack of education (rightly or wrongly). Surely everyone has access to a dictionary! But then I'm assuming everyone can read. I feel that all the TV companies should lead the way any ensure that standards of spoken English are maintained.


I am Canadian and I say aitch. From the time I was a kid it drove and still drives me nuts when someone says "haitch" There is even radio talk show host who say "haitch" on the air - drives me wacko!

Ted Emmet

H is a mysterious letter --the working class were told not to drop there H's but the middle class would say an 'otel. The correct version is aitch but there we go --ignorance is bliss


I find it odd that this conversation is even happening its a letter, how can people get mad over pronunciation of the letter H. Unbeleivable lol

Edward Lawrence

Languages that are alive evolve. English is a 'live' language but variations in pronunciations exist. Time and the majority will decide which variations are considered correct, not some 'Higher Authority'. Latin is a dead language and should be eliminated where exact and shorter equivalents exist.


If it's AITCH in the dictionary, it's AITCH in pronunciation, there is no alternative and it drives me freaking crazy!!


Always aitch, NEVER haitch


It is definitely 'aitch'. Standards are incredibly low if children are being taught 'haitch'. What makes it worse that make actually think they're correct! If people refer to the national health service as the 'En Aitch Ess' why can't they just pronounce the letter singly on its own like that? I hope the letter H never ever becomes acceptable to be pronounced as 'haitch'.


There's an old story that when the British army came to Northern Ireland in the 70s, they weren't able to tell the unionists from the nationalists. So when they stopped and searched anyone, they'd get them to recite the alphabet - an 'aitch' meant they were questioning a unionist, a 'haitch' meant they had a nationalist.
Growing up in Ireland, I learned to be very wary of the eighth letter of the alphabet, it can give away a lot of information about you!


I'm sorry to be picky but I believe it to be 'aitch'... My partner says 'haitch' and it makes me want to scream! Sometimes I will ignore until the fact that I'm annoyed at it is picked up...Other times I will correct and force him to repeat it back to me correctly :)


This is stupid, some people say 'aitch' some people say 'haitch', deal with it.

Zi Yue

Hate those people who say 'aitch'.... But I keep on saying 'haitch'.... My sis say: "IS 'AITCH', NOT 'HAITCH', MY TEACHER SAY ONE HOR....."


I think it is quite amusing that people get so angry about the mispronunciation of a letter.


I'm sorry to break it to you but Haitch sounds stupid!


We have just had a friendly "argument" with my Mother-In-Law, as she told us we should say"Aitch d--instead od Haitch d! We thought her wrong. Just looked it up on the Internet, and yes-she was right. But who cares! I will NEVER drop my Hs. I had Elecution lessons, when i was young, and this is a first for me. They say you live & learn.

t jay

None of you guys eva gon get it correct,coz everybody pronounce it either way they feel its correct,thus 2 me no one is the master of pronounsation bt therez a correct way of pronouncing it,which is "haitch",I mean on the contrary it starts wit the letter "H" not the letter "A",so get ur facts straight peepz.#enuf said#


Ignorant people say Haitch. IT IS AITCH!!!


I'm English-born but have lived in Australia for over 50 years. 'Haitch' has taken Australia by storm. Its origin here seems to be Irish, doubtless due to the fact that a lot of the convicts sent here for serious crimes like stealing bread to feed starving children were Irish Catholics. South Australia, which was never a penal colony, tends to be an 'aitch' area. The unaspirated pronunciation (aitch) goes back to Middle English, which petered out in about 1460. Haitch used to be virtually unknown in England but there are estimates of about 24% usage in the UK now. I hate it!!

leah fletcher

Right, it's 'Haitch' okay lads, stop arguing it's stupid.

D Mackay

As an ancient Scot who loves the English language and hates ghastly words which are actually now in the dictionary, I KNOW that aitch is correct.


To Amanda who wonders what all the fuss is about, I'd say imagine if people insist on calling you Hamanda. Words do matter, like that pilot who decided he'd call East, "West" and North, "South", it made his passengers nervous.


One other thing worth noting, especially for scrabble players, is that the Chambers OSW (Official Scrabble Words) Dictionary does NOT list Haitch as a word, so even if you care to say it, it is NOT allowable in scrabble. So to all those ignoramuses, say it if you like, but don't put it down on the board - its a non-word.


Basically I had a massive argument with my university flatmates on this subject and they all are convinced haitch. I actually wanted to pick up a table and chuck it across the room, I couldn't win! Haha it's aitch. End of.

Liz Morgan

There are two points to consider here, 1) those who actually think it doesn't matter to say something ( or spell) incorrectly
and 2) to be actually told you are incorrect and then regardlessly continue to do the wrong thing in any case.

Shame on those you who think it's futile or silly to argue over the name of a letter, - it's all indicative of falling educational standards. To those who insist in continuing I say to you, do you pronounce L Lel, or M Mem, F Fef etc etc?? The sound of the letter does NOT always proceed the name. Aitch rules!!


I recently tried to spell my name over the phone to a GP's receptionist. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "ess see aitch"
Rcpt : "8?"
Me: "no aitch"
Rcpt:"8?...oh you mean haitch"
Not 8, not haitch. It's aitch.

John Stevens

My number one pet hate is people who say haitch. My wife does it all the time and there's only so many times you can tell a grown woman she's wrong. Even worse, she works for Aitch Es Bee Cee and says it all the time!!

Paul Waters

For God's sake tell various BBC contributors and presenters it is aitch.

bob cox

i think that it is haitch so deal with it pleeeeaaassseee.


You hardly ever heard 'haitch' 30 years ago... And when u did, it was usually from 'lower class' / uneducated folk. Much more common now. I work in tv and often have to pull people up on their 'haitches'. Strangely, many of them are unaware they are pronouncing it differently to the majority... Like sound blindness. Also drives me nuts when people say capsicuN!


What pacifically is wrong with saying 'haitch' !? ;) haha boom boom


It is important to note that linguistic prescriptivism (e.g. declaring only standard variety english to be valid) normally reflects arrogance, elitism or a sense of cultural superiority. In Ireland /h/ is most commonly pronounced haitch. People in Ireland previously spoke Irish before the English language was imposed on them. The two languages came into contact and so hiberno-english was born. Languages change and develops as they come into contact with other language groups and cultures. Expressions such as "he/she should speak 'proper' English" quite often belie racist tendencies or at the very least a lack of openness to diversity.


People that say "'aitch" confuse me - do they also pronounce hungry as 'ungry, hot as 'ot, hotel as 'otel and hide as 'ide?


Aitch is the correct way to pronounce it.
I say both haitch and aitch.
In school aitch and at home haitch. When i say for ex. HD i say Haitch d, when i say WHsmith i say aitch :P
But i don't know we some many people care?
Some people say aitch som haitch, so what? It's different in each dialect.


i hate it too when people say "haich" as if they're talking to a two year old and explaning which letter a word begins with. i know what "h" sounds like and i don't need some pedantic (though wrong) plonker trying to demonstrate his miss understanding
to me. thanks

now of course how aboy an hotel or a hotel
which is right there......?


Check the dictionary for the correct pronunciation of the letter "H". It is most definitely "aitch" and if I hear my boss say "Haitch" one more time I'm going to scream. He is Greek after all and a Catholic which used to be the excuse for this abomination of our language so that's the way he was taught, but I still hate it. Also the post re "kilometre", I agree with you. We don't say "kil-og-ram" do we?


It's AITCH! AAAAAAGGGGHHHH! It drives me mad when so many ignorant people pronounce this wrongly!

Psymon Psymons

Aitch... that is all....


As mentioned before English is an international language and has developed differently I. Different countries. Most people in Ireland say "haitch". This is because the English language forced upon the native population. Nobody was "taught" how to speak English as the occupying forces were too busy decimating the population from 7 million people to 4.5 million. Learning to pronounce a letter correctly as per 4 or 5 learned men in Oxford was never high on our agenda. Staying alive was the priority. Americans spell the word "colour" as "color". This is just another example of how the English language has developed as both spelling are correct in their natural environs.

Peter Jeal

I heard 'aitch' as I grew up, both at home and in school. However, as a retired English teacher, having taught in England, Scotland and Canada, it is clear that languages 'evolve', or we would all be using Anglo-Saxon, Chaucerian or Shakespearean English, depending on how liguistically adventurous were our ancestors. Modification is particularly marked in the young, often being used to 'distance' themselves from adults. Much as I hate the sound of 'haitch', it is a more logical pronunciation of modern English. Peter Pedant


It's 'Aitch'. Pronouncing it any other way makes you sound stupid. Unfortunately I'm quite sure most student teachers pronounce it wrong. We're all doomed to have stupid sounding children.


Thank goodness i had the benefit of being educated in the fifties at a 'secondary' school where all teachers were themselves well educated and taught us to speak the English language correctly ie: H is Aitch.

Paul Coghill

We have a great language that has fun dialects but let us not teach infants the wrong way to speak. There is no H in the word. Teachers - grow up!!

Mark Dawson

While channel-hopping on the TV it becomes clear that all the "respectable"channels, BBC, ITV, Ch4, etc, universally refer to HD correctly as "aitch dee", most of the chavvy ones (those with adverts every 5 mins) speak of "haitch dee" (although with the compulsory Estuary accent it comes out as "hitche dey-uh". I rest my case

Jamesie Bondie

Aich. 'ain't 2 ways about it. Trust me I'm a double 'O'. (That's OO7, not the commonly miss spelt 007).
In addition to that I also pronounce scone as scone. How do you pronounce it?
Seriously though, anyone who says haich (including my mother) is wrong. Love English, love grammar and love life.


saying ach is an incorrect way for people who aren't Australian. haitch is more correct. you don't say achave you say Have!
It is AUstralian to say haitch
ach talks longer to say


I was educated in a Catholic school (by both Australian and Irish nuns) and we were told, in no uncertain terms, to NEVER pronounce 'h' as 'aitch' but rather as 'haitch'. It is a shibboleth, a way of distinguishing Catholic from Protestant. For a while I started to pronounce 'h' as 'aitch' just to appease the pro-British police, but each time I did so I felt like such a fraud and a traitor to my background. You may as well say to me that from now on I must write left-handed rather than right-handed. It's just not natural to say 'aitch' instead of 'haitch'. This would I assume be vice versa for those raised to say 'aitch'.

I do wonder if the origin of the difference in the pronunciation of 'h' goes back to the fact that in the Irish language 'h' is usually a second aspirated consonant. But not sure about this connection - would be good if someone could throw some light on this.

To say 'aitch' is wrong and 'haitch' is correct or vice versa appears to me to be a form of bullying. What next - all English as a first language speakers must speak like the English royal family? Bad luck if you're from Boston, Brisbane or Bournmouth! So both are correct, unless you are looking in a British dictionary - and probably one from the same well known organisation who rewrote the concise encyclopaedia of Irish history to suit the British! The pronunciation is a variation and not wrong.


"Since ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." The letter is spelled aitch - end of story. My daughter was recently appointed to teach English in a European country. During the interview she was asked to spell a number of words which included the letter aitch. At the end of the interview when she got the job she was told that "A lot of Australians do not seem to be able to pronounce the letter aitch. You will be teaching educated people and is important that your pronunciation be correct." Similarly, I would not employ any person who said "haitch"; it is pure and unadulterated ignorance.


While I accept that aitch is the correct pronunciation, growing up as a Catholic in Northern Ireland it was always haitch so that's just how it is for us. What is annoying is how people use this to say we are poorly educated when schools in Northern Ireland have by far the best results at GCSE and A-Level year after year. Just because our dialect has this difference does not make us poorly educated.

Mark Hardy

Should be the way it always was:- pronouncing it 'haitch' meant you didn't get the job! Would solve the lack of employment opportunities for the 'indigenous population' of the South East in double-quick time...


I am in my sixties from south london, and it was always seen as anyone saying haitch was poorly educated, and a teacher would always correct. In my professional life it was alway aitch. But like others have mentioned once people start appearing on the TV and mispronouncing, the young start to copy, and if the BBC does not correct what hope have we got!

Arrys and 'Arriets

Oh for goodness sake, get a life! Getting angry at English-language prononciations, and worse-still, denigrating the prononciation of others must be the epitome of small-mindedness!


It's "aitch". It's not a question of opinion but rather a fact based on the Latin script defining the pronunciation of each letter in the English lanuage, for example "double-u". Schools should cover this, but instead tend to ignore the fundamentals these days.


Funny, "H"aitch drives me up the wall. Aitch is how EVERYONE I know has always said it. I'm watching a video online and the guy is saying Haitch and it makes my blood curdle. My girlfriend is laughing at my displeasure. Glad to see others agree. HaHa.. (or is it Ah Ah?)

Nick (Australia)

frugging: I think you just proved a lot of people's point here when they've said only the uneducated mispronounce the letter 'h' (aitch). The word is 'pronunciation' not 'pronounciation'. The letter is and always has been 'aitch'. I 'haitch' when people say it like that! (bad pun intended).

Denis Gough

"In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen!" - My fair lady - The film

wendy leigh

it has ALWAYS been " aitch" in the English language.


haitch is the right way, and it makes more sense. if you say "aitch," then it would be the only letter of the English alphabet that does not have the pronunciation of the letter within the name of the letter. think about it.


It's haitch. It sounds much better.

colin phillips

"Official Scrabble Words" does not allow haitch.


If you pronounce it haitch you sound like an uneducated moron. The fact is that it is pronounced aitch. That's not debatable and if you pronounce it haitch you sound uneducated.

Helen stanley

Aitche is pronounced this way due to it originating from the french ache. Irrefutable


Whilst looking for a child's first computer for my granddaughter - one of the ones which teaches basic numeracy and letters of the alphabet - the first two I tested for the letter h said haitch - I was disgusted and ended up choosing the computer based entirely on the pronunciation of this one letter - it may be ridiculous but it sets my teeth on edge every time someone pronounces it incorrectly.


Always have!


If teachers can't get it right what hope is there for the rest of us. Aitch forever the battle continues.


Hardly any people who use Haitch do not say N Haitch S when referring to the NHS because it does not flow. I have noticed that people who pronounce Haitch tend to drop the letter in front of words that actually start with the letter H (such as I 'ave an 'eadache)


My old English teacher would turn in his grave if he could hear it pronounced "Haitch" - even on the BBC !!!


My 5 year old son has a teacher who says "Haitch " and "somethink" instead of something! No surprise that Australia is down the world education list... Disgraceful. My son corrects his "teacher "every day. As my mother used to say (a high school teacher ) " speaking this way is a sign of the poorly educated" case closed. Ps. and to tony who posted about catholic schools saying Haitch... Also a very ignorant statement... Absolute runbish. I bet you say "somethink " as well Tony????? If anything it is the private schools who speak correctly.

Browse our language polls:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25