Writing Tip | A Historic vs. An Historic

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Believe it or not, many people have difficulty with using “a” and “an” before certain words.  One particular word where confusion arises is “historic.”  You have probably seen some people write “an historic” and others write “a historic.”  Which is correct?  The answer is the second option, and here is why.

Using “a” and “an” before a word follows a general rule.  If the next word begins with a consonant sound, choose “a.”  If the next word begins with a vowel sound, choose “an.”

The typical pronunciation of historic in the United States begins with a consonant sound.  Just think of words like “hint” and “high” to get the picture of how the “h” in “historic” is supposed to sound.  Since “historic” begins with a consonant sound, we use “a historic.”  Here is an example:

The opening of the Civil War Museum in Birmingham was a historic event.

The nice thing about the whole “a historic” vs. “an historic” argument is that your choice is always the same.  There are no exceptions where you should use “an historic,” so remembering this should help you in the future when the time arises to use it once again.

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