Or how one usage slowly dies out while another is born.
Fill the gaps - click on 'a' or 'an', then on the appropriate gap.
|9.||UN official||10.||history book|
|11.||Member of Parliament||12.||MP|
|13.||European country||14.||EU commissioner|
- herb - Americans don't usually pronounce the 'h', so will say "an 'erb"
- horrific - this one of the examples, like historic, where some speakers will use 'an'
- hotel - this used to be pronounced without the 'h', as in its native French, so was often used with 'an'. The most usual pronounciation nowadays is with the 'h', so most people will say 'a hotel'. Saying 'an hotel' sounds rather pretentious or pedantic to many of us.
Back to historic
an hotel (a hotel is more common)
an historic occasion (a historic ... is more common)
h and is still often seen and heard (an historian, an hotel, an hysterical scene, an hereditary title, an habitual offender). But now that the h in such words is pronounced, the distinction has become anomalous and will no doubt disappear in time. Meantime, speakers who like to say an should not try to have it both ways by aspirating the h.
Today I'm doing some ngramming, in fact I've already ngrammed six times.
Links - a/an historic ...
- Common Errors
- Oxford Dictionaries - Better writing
- Better Writing Skills
- Grammar tips at Homestead
- Daily writing tips
- Alpha Dictionary - linguistic technical
- Grammar Girl