This is Turning into an Hassle


I don’t know where this came from or why it seems to be proliferating, but please take a look at this Google News search for “an historic.” As I write this, this search returns 3,144 results for this exact phrase.

Meanwhile, people are also writing an heroic, an hearing, and even an humiliating.

I know this isn’t any of you, but if you know someone who’s doing this, beg him or her to stop!

The rule you learned whenever you learned it still applies. Use an in front of most words beginning with a vowel sound, such as honor, apple, and irritating. Use a in front of everything else. Here in the United States, we pronounce the /h/ sound in front of words like historic, humiliating, and heroic, so those words take a.

Now please do what you can to reverse the tide of this, an ‘orrible practice if e’er I ‘eard one!

One thought on “This is Turning into an Hassle”

  1. could this post have been inspired by mine on HT? or is it mere coincidence? there’s not a week that goes by where i don’t hear someone in the media use the wrong article. it’s actually eric who caught this unwelcome trend. in the last few months, we’ve heard anderson cooper, katie couric, steve uyehara, someone on KITV and other folk (including punahou grad, president obama!) make this mistake.

    you might find this illuminating:

    thankfully, nothing at that link will dissuade you, me or eric from our position.

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