An historian or a historian?

Which one is correct?

That depends on how you pronounce “historian.” If you’re American, you probably say it with a strong consonant “H,” in which case “a historian” is correct. Many Brits say it with a much softer “H” or none at all, making it basically a vowel, in which case “an historian” is correct.

As one of the people who used it in Eve’s Pit thread, an historian. The H is silent. Parvenu! :rolleyes:


An is used in front of “h” words when th H isn’t sounded.

I’ll be there in an hour
I’ll be happy to finally have a home.

Historian is sort of an inbetween case; the h is sounded just a bit. I’ve certainly see it both ways and either sounds OK to me. OTOH I’d never say an history book. Note that the accent in history is on the first syllable, but the accent in historian is on the second syllable which makes the sounding of the h much less pronounced. (pun intended).

An Hotel.
A House.
A Hovercraft.
An Hors d’oeuvre.


Well, if you’re a cockney it’s
an 'istorian
an 'ouse
an ''overcraft
an 'ors d’oeuvre


From what I’ve seen, a silent ‘h’ in historian or hotel sounds outdated or pretentious among standard Brit English speakers.

Probablt part of the tendancy in recent decades among many people to be self-conscious and even hypercorrect about pronunciation. Hence the ‘h’ n forehead is usually sounded now, as is the ‘t’ in often. Similarly, a lot of people now pronounce tourquoise a la francaise (tourqwazz) rather than tourqwoiz as God, being English, intended.

I’ve never heard that one - and I think I’d punch anybody who said it that way :smiley:

I have heard, more often (silent “T”) than not, especially on the news, “An Hotel,” more than “A Hotel.”
To me, the first is the more correct pronunciation :slight_smile:

Going along with your argument, I suppose you think we should pronounce the “L” in film - fillum?

And I’m not a cockney… Aussie, through and through :cool: