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Old 11-27-2009, 11:58 PM
 
231 posts, read 650,616 times
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and will you even accept that you've been wrong if someone corrects you?

either way, support your position with something other than "it's what my parents said"
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:16 AM
 
784 posts, read 2,472,145 times
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"A historical"

Historical begins with a consonant, therefore we use "A".
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:38 AM
YAZ
 
Location: Phoenix,AZ
7,069 posts, read 11,461,520 times
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Is it the consonant or the phoenetics that determine "a" or "an"?

E.g., "an" honest dentist....
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Old 11-28-2009, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Kalamazoo
80 posts, read 169,384 times
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Exactly, Yaz. It's the phonetics. If the consonant is silent or the vowel sounds like a consonant, our normal a/an rule doesn't apply. For example, "a university".

I think some people just pronounce 'historical' with a silent h and others do not.
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Old 11-28-2009, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Waco, TX
977 posts, read 1,575,958 times
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It's the phonetics that determine a/an. "Honest" has a silent H, therefore "an honest..." Historical does not have a silent H. You don't take an 'istory class. You take a history class. Pronouncing "historical" with a silent H is basically slang and is technically incorrect. So the correct format would be "a historical..."
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 11,904,907 times
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I submit that there's no one correct answer. When you're writing, what matters is how your reader will read it. If your reader is more likely to aspirate the H, then use A. If your reader would tend to say 'anistorical' then I'd say 'an'. If I were penning a collegiate history paper, I'd use the latter because that's probably how my prof would read it. If writing a history essay for a trivia book aimed at the general public, the former, because I believe a tie goes to the chosen audience.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:06 PM
 
231 posts, read 650,616 times
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so... if your chosen audience thinks "i seen ..." is acceptable, you should write that? there are right and wrong ways to do things
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:58 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 11,904,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acfreema View Post
so... if your chosen audience thinks "i seen ..." is acceptable, you should write that? there are right and wrong ways to do things
Come now. One of the common sense rules of writing is never follow any rule off a cliff. But to answer your question, if I thought that would make a difference in communicating with my audience, I might consider it. I just can't envision a circumstance in which it would.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:12 AM
 
231 posts, read 650,616 times
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i often feel the need to push on something until it gives.

having watched the "speech-training" in My Fair Lady many times, hearing (even reading) words where there is a pronounced "h" that is ignored... it irritates me so. errors that are so obvious(ly wrong) must be corrected, regardless of the culprit.

can't people understand that a consonant sound necessitates "a" instead of "an"?
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:34 AM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,651,014 times
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I prefer the, 'an historical event' because I find that in less than perfect elocution the a melts into the H providing a word that sounds like 'ahistorical', or something worse. The an provides more definition and gravitas to the word historical.

My emphasis is to write with the spoken word kept in mind.
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