English Grammar

What article a or an with the words in H

I have always a(an) hesitation for the words in H, in making or not the liaison with the article.I know that one says a hospital for instance, even if it hits me a little bit, (personally). I have wanted to know for a long time if there is a rule or if it cans be left at the appreciation of anyone. In my today's lesson, I have among the words to review, a(an) homage with both articles. If someone could free me from this state of uncertainty, I would be grateful to them.


  • Hi ! Extract from Harrap's shorter dictionary : "Il est cependant important de se souvenir que l'on emploie a/an selon que l'initiale du mot qui suit se prononce comme une voyelle ou non. Ainsi le 'h' muet est précédé de an : an hour (une heure), an heir (un héritier), an honest man (un honnête homme). Il en est de même pour les abréviations commençant phonétiquement par une voyelle : an MP ( un député). En revanche, la diphtongue se prononçant 'iou' et qui s'écrit 'eu' est précédée de "a" : a university (une université), a eucalyptus tree (un eucalyptus), a union (un syndicat). Avec le mot 'hotel', on peut employer soit 'a' ou 'an', bien que dans le langage parlé, on préfère l'emploi de 'a'." Hope this be of help to you !
  • A big thank to you Thierry! All is cleared up now. The rule is very precise, concerning the abbreviations as well.I should have found it by myself because it so happens that I have the Harraps.I have probably searched at a time, but without result.I also didn't know for the diphthongs.It works. It remains to be seen, for 'homage', the beginning being not pronounced as a diphthong, whether, Goodness knows, one says an homage or both, a homage being used in the spoken language. Anyway, Have a good day! GL

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