Wikinvest Wire

A(n) historic day

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

That "n" that most people put before the word "historic" never made much sense to me, but, today's the kind of day where you just go with the flow. Via CNN video - "From MLK to Today".

More on "a" vs. "an"...

- "A historic" or "an historic"?
- More on 'A' vs. 'An'
- “A Historic” or “An Historic” Event?

And then there's this:


Anonymous said...

it seems that the stock market is already looking past the events of the day.............

Anonymous said...

The reason for using "a" or "an" is to provide clear separation between the article and the object. Usually, you use "an" before a word starting with a vowel. If you say "a apple", someone might not clearly hear the article, since it slurs with the first letter of the object.

Most people just make an iron clad rule that you use "an" ONLY before a word starting with a vowel. However, it is appropriate to use it when a word starts with a vowel-like sound, for example, "historic". If you say "a historic", the first part of "historic" is like a short i sound, so the vowels slur.

This is why it is appropriate to say "an historic" while also appropriate to say "a horn". It all depends on how much you emphasize the "h" sound.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I didn't see your links. Sorry about the pedantry.

Sackerson said...

I've looked at the links. It does depend on whether you sound the H, and the way it is now is not necessarily the way it's always been. British history means that Englishmen leant towards Frenchified spellings and pronunciation, even of Latin words, hence "honour" and "favour" vs. the more Classical US "honor" and "favor". Milton's Samson Agonistes (1671) has the hero say "Thou knowst I am an Ebrew."

jesse said...

"I think he's got it!" says Professor Henry Higgins.

Sackerson said...

Watch it, 'enry, I still has me 'at-pin!

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