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A auntie or AN auntie?

(23 Posts)
JJsandcat Fri 31-Jul-09 06:54:17

Confused foreigner alert... I was taught to say AN in front of vocals. Right or wrong?

LeninGrad Fri 31-Jul-09 06:56:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThingOne Fri 31-Jul-09 07:04:19

an an an an an

JJsandcat Fri 31-Jul-09 07:05:30

vowels, sorry.

Ah, I've seen a few people write a auntie and I was confused.

Thank you for the clarification!

I love the Pedants' corner!! smile

EachPeachPearMum Fri 31-Jul-09 07:24:18

what about hotel?

KingRolo Fri 31-Jul-09 07:29:04

It's an before h too isn't it? Or is it only when the h is soft as in an hour, an honour?

JJsandcat Fri 31-Jul-09 07:38:00

I say 'Could we stay in a hotel?' but maybe that's blush

But I say AN hour.


JJsandcat Fri 31-Jul-09 07:39:03

An because the H is silent but in hotel is pronounced...

[emoticon for scratching head]

EachPeachPearMum Fri 31-Jul-09 07:44:03

hmmm... it's difficult. a hotel sounds stilted, but an hotel is difficult to say too!

KingRolo Fri 31-Jul-09 07:44:17

I think you are right, it's down to whether the H is silent or not.

And what about some words beginning with vowels like ukulele and eunuch. I'd say 'a eunuch', not 'an eunuch'.

LeninGrad Fri 31-Jul-09 07:47:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

theyoungvisiter Fri 31-Jul-09 07:49:16

to be very very correct you should say AN HOTEL, and also AN HISTORY. This is because although the H is pronounced, the derivation of the word is from French where it is not pronounced, and historically it was probably not fully pronounced in English.

Words with an English origin that begin with an H are always A eg A HOUSE, A HORSE.

However in practice, increasingly we say A HISTORY and A HOTEL regardless of origin, because human beings love consistency smile.

It is always AN HOUR because the H is not pronounced at all.

In front of vowels it's always AN, so AN AUNTIE is correct and A AUNTIE is probably a typo or a local dialect. The exception is where there is a vowel which is pronounced Y eg we say A EWE.

Hope that helps - generally it's as clear as mud grin

JJsandcat Fri 31-Jul-09 09:06:35

Thank you so much. I didn't know this at all, very interesting YoungVisitor!

cattj Fri 31-Jul-09 09:08:24

* * * The exception is where there is a vowel which is pronounced Y eg we say A EWE. * * *

Surely you mean U, not Y?

Sheeta Fri 31-Jul-09 09:11:15

What about History? I always hear 'an historical event...' on the news.

Sheeta Fri 31-Jul-09 09:12:57

oh - read whole thread before posting [muppet emoticon]

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 31-Jul-09 09:14:09

Phonetically, the sound that starts 'ewe' is 'y'.

'History' is another word from French - 'histoire', therefore technically it should be 'an history' - but we don't say that because we sound the 'h'.

CyradisTheSeer Fri 31-Jul-09 09:14:54

Message withdrawn

DadInsteadofMum Fri 31-Jul-09 09:40:46

If you have to stop to sound the seperate vowels sounds (e.g a auntie) then it is an to make it flow as a continuous sound. If however it can be said as a continuous sound (e.g a ewe) then it remains a.

theyoungvisiter Fri 31-Jul-09 09:52:07

basically if you say it in the way that sounds "right" and trips off the tongue most easily you will probably be correct grin

there are some interesting non-English examples of this too. Eg in French you normally say a woman is "belle" and a man is "beau".

But you say "un bel homme" because "un beau homme" is practically impossible to say.

NetworkGuy Sat 15-Aug-09 00:42:34

I'm not convinced by this discussion of whether there's a French origin.

In my experience, it's down to the first sound in the noun.

Where I would talk about "planting a herb" some Americans (who say "herb" as "erb") would say "planting an herb" - which down to their use of a "silent" "h".

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 21:14:33

Don't buy the an hotel an history thing, tyv - think languages assimilate and adapt loan words to suit themselves, so it wouldn't be necessarily "correct" to say "an hotel" just because it may have been the historical origin. I think the initial sound, not letter, is key, so if you have an initial silent h then an is fine, but if you pronounce h then a is better. Change by analogy is typical - vis climbed rather than the original clomb.

midnightexpress Wed 19-Aug-09 21:21:22

I'm with Habbibu on this one.

BTW, did you know that 'an orange' was originally 'a norange' (like in Spanish 'naranja')? Not a lot of people know that (well actually, in pedants' corner, I'll find that everyone knew that).

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