2008/08/13

A historic blog post

It really bothers me the way both John Stewart and Stephen Colbert say "an historic." Even if by some bizarre chance it turned out to be technically correct, it doesn't sound right and is harder to say than "a historic." If they weren't pronouncing the 'h' it would be one thing, but they are, and so they're wrong.

Unfortunately according to google, use of "an historic" is fairly prevalent with "a historic" at 7,780,000 hits and "an historic" at less than half that, but still a significant 3,440,000.

It's simple people! If it's a vowel sound, use 'an', if not, don't.

8 comments:

Erik said...

Historic used to have a silent h, especially when using a British accent. Sounds like a honest mistake to me. :-P

ThePeat said...

I use "an" to slow down my speech, since it forces me to articulate the words separately.

don't delete me! said...

Oh hey, I just noticed your awesome blog! And I noticed you have a small typo in your otherwise fine post. The title should say "an historic blog post". HTH.

Michael said...

Har har.

@Erik.. I know some people pronounce it silently, and they are more than welcome to use "an", but Stewart and Colbert both pronounce the H sound.

ThePeat said...

I'm gonna start saying "an European," just to balance things out.

Jennifer said...

I remember misspelling "herb" in a spelling test once, because the teacher had told us you can leave off the "h" sound.

I'm with you though, Mike. Even if it was once correct in British English, Stewart and Colbert speak American.

Michael said...

Thanks Jen.

@Pete, two wrongs don't make a right.

Mom said...

To quote from my "Writer's Guide and Index to English"..."In many words from French the h was formerly not pronounced: habit, history, hotel...but now is .....So long as the h was not pronounced, 'an' was used before these words, and it is still by some people in the forms in which the stress is not on the first syllable: 'an historical work, an habitual error', though 'a' is now more common."