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Hello,

"A" or "An" . What is the correct article?

--history novel
--history professor
--historic moment
--historical novel
--history
--historical document
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Comments  (Page 3) 
I believe than 'an' is used in Britain and 'a' is used in the United States because in Britian the "h" is not pronounced and in the United States the "h" is pronounced.
I thought I'd cracked it (experimenting with an hamster, an hammock, an happening, an harvest etc) until I found that there is very abundant usage of 'an harassment order'...
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Your 'professor' (*) was poorly educated. 'End of story'.

(*) A word used in the US of A to indicate almost anyone employed in a post-graduate academic capicity. cf. ;President' / 'Vice President' of a corporation. It, apparently, makes the title-bearer feel more important.
The prof is a female. Interesting you thought it was a male. lol

Old and stogy doesn't always come in the form of a male.
Quite wrong. The difference in pronunciation on such "h" cases is up to the individual. The British style (in which "h" sounds are very light, if not dropped altogether) is to write "an historical document". If you chose to say "a historical" document, as most Americans do, euphony requires that the "a" be pronounced as it would in "brake" as opposed to giving it the more typical "uh" sound.
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while I completely agree with the above poster, there seem to be differing uses of the "a" vs "an" ("a" vs "an" referred to as "avn" henceforth) when preceeding "history" from people that I would consider an aouthority (though not "the" authority) on the subject. For examle, I was prompted to look this up from Roland Barthes use of avn. At first I thought it was a typo, but sure enough it kept recurring. I would like to see a more definitive (scholarly even?) post on this response. i would like to be the one to give this response, but I have no concrete answer. Personally, I always use the "a history" in my writings (I'm an english major at the University of Utah) whether they are collegiate or otherwise.
As a Brit I can confirm that we do pronounce the h if speaking in the 'Queen's English', i.e. ignoring regional accents. Hence, all you have to ask is what sounds better when pronouncing the words beginning with an audible 'h' to know what is correct. 'An history' sounds clumsy, so therefore 'a history' is correct. An hour is correct because the h is not pronounced.

I don't really see the point of looking at how words used to be pronounced historically or are pronounced in other languages (other than for interest). Surely the issue is what is the correct language today and in English?

The high volume of hits for 'an history' (etc) just go to show how many people get it wrong Emotion: wink
I also forgot to mention I have been a professional writer for 16 years...
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--a history novel
--a history professor
--an historic moment
--an historical novel
--a history
--an historical document

http://grammartips.homestead.com/historical.html
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