Mighty Red Pen

November 9, 2007

Hysterical over an historical

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Overseen,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:50 pm

MRP spied this recently:


And felt compelled to ask, “Does anyone actually believe that an historic is correct?”

Thanks to Paul Brians, who pronounces:

You should use “an” before a word beginning with an “H” only if the “H” is not pronounced: “an honest effort”; it’s properly “a historic event” though many sophisticated speakers somehow prefer the sound of “an historic,” so that version is not likely to get you into any real trouble.

But Bill Walsh has a full exposition here.



  1. On one of the old Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, Kent Brockman says, “And that’s how an heroic hippo became a deputy.” Bugs the hell out of me every time I hear it.

    Comment by Dan — November 10, 2007 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  2. I have been wrong all these years. Big surprise there.

    Comment by Blue — November 12, 2007 @ 11:07 am | Reply

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