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a hotel, an hotel or A hotel

(54 Posts)
Fennel Thu 02-Jul-20 16:26:27

Which is correct?
Does it make any difference whther it's said or written?
A question posed by a friend who is very fussy about correct grammar.
Personally I would say and write "an".
Husband says "A."

Smileless2012 Thu 02-Jul-20 16:31:29

I don't think written or spoken 'an hotel' is correct. A hotel would be correct in writing if it was the beginning of a sentence for example 'A large hotel sat, overlooking the cliffs' otherwise it would a hotel for example 'He asked if there was a hotel in the town'.

catladyuk Thu 02-Jul-20 16:35:02

I was taught that it was an 'otel and the 'h' should be silent, but that was back in the year dot!

Lona Thu 02-Jul-20 16:35:26

I was always told that the 'h' is silent and it's an 'otel.
I'm probably wrong, often am as phoenix would say!

Tangerine Thu 02-Jul-20 16:35:51

If you do not pronounce the "h" at the beginning, it is perhaps "an hotel" in the French way. Hotel is, I believe, a French word.

In the English language, we pronounce the "h" and so I think I would say or write "a hotel".

I am not certain if there is an exactly right or wrong answer.

Oopsminty Thu 02-Jul-20 16:36:11

My Grandma always used to tell me it was an hotel

A swift google says she was quite correct!

So you're right, Fennel,

AGAA4 Thu 02-Jul-20 16:36:12

I think it is correct to say and write an hotel. This like many other parts of grammar isn't used as much now.

Tangerine Thu 02-Jul-20 16:38:13

The trouble is language changes. I don't speak or write exactly as my Grandparents did.

Starblaze Thu 02-Jul-20 16:39:48

General rule is, if the word begins with a vowel, it's "an".

An egg

An apple

Etc but some things, it's just weird

"An ardvark" works

"An unicorn" just sounds wrong lol

BlueBelle Thu 02-Jul-20 16:48:29

I was brought up with an otel and an ‘our and followed the vowel rule with h being silent having said that I don’t think I would say an husband but a husband and an hospital but a hospital so it’s all a bit weird isn’t it?

Smileless2012 Thu 02-Jul-20 16:49:57

That's true Tangerine my gran would always point it out to me if I dropped my 'h's'.

Barmeyoldbat Thu 02-Jul-20 16:51:55

I taught that you use AN only before a vowel, for example, an apple. So it would be a hotel.

paddyanne Thu 02-Jul-20 16:58:52

I've never heard "an" hotel ,sounds a bit odd .Only an before a vowel when I was taught and H isn't a vowel

Oopsminty Thu 02-Jul-20 17:01:52


The trouble is language changes. I don't speak or write exactly as my Grandparents did.

Oh me neither!

Pair of them swore like troopers

Oopsminty Thu 02-Jul-20 17:07:44

This is all quite interesting. Of course language evolves.

But this puts an interesting slant on it

It's normal to say an heir. I can't imagine anyone saying * a heir*

Same with (an/a) historic event. An sounds much better than a

Found this which explains

*An is the form of the indefinite article that is used before a spoken vowel sound: it doesn’t matter how the written word in question is actually spelled. So, we say ‘an honour’, ‘an hour’, or ‘an heir’, for example, because the initial letter ‘h’ in all three words is not actually pronounced. By contrast we say ‘a hair’ or ‘a horse’ because, in these cases, the ‘h’ is pronounced.

Let’s go back to those three words that tend to cause problems: historic, horrific, and hotel. If hotel was pronounced without its initial letter ‘h’ (i.e. as if it were spelled ‘otel’), then it would be correct to use an in front of it. The same is true of historic and horrific. If horrific was pronounced ‘orrific’ and historic was pronounced ‘istoric’ then it would be appropriate to refer to ‘an istoric occasion’ or ‘an orrific accident’. In the 18th and 19th centuries, people often did pronounce these words in this way.*

But it doesn't matter

dragonfly46 Thu 02-Jul-20 17:08:36

Strangely the 'h' is dropped in hotel. So correctly it is an (h)otel.

kittylester Thu 02-Jul-20 17:14:24

I was taught 'an hotel' and 'an hour' but a horse and a house!

I think most people say an hour.

Oopsminty Thu 02-Jul-20 17:17:04

The fabulous English language!

NotSpaghetti Thu 02-Jul-20 18:05:26

I also was taught an hotel - but it was pronounced “otel” with a silent “h”. These days most people say hotel with an aitch it seems so I suppose it is changing.

NotSpaghetti Thu 02-Jul-20 18:06:56

Kittylester - probably because you say horse and house with the “h” pronounced.

boat Thu 02-Jul-20 18:17:42

Not to muddy the waters, I saw an American film in which one of the cast declared, "I am a actor", with a soft 'a'.

I just can't get my tongue around it.

sodapop Thu 02-Jul-20 19:16:05

It's a French word so the aitch is silent. Therefore an 'otel. Or so I always thought,

Grandmafrench Thu 02-Jul-20 19:32:45

un hôtel/an hotel.

I think it sounds correct if you don't pronounce the aitch and in my experience see it mostly printed as "an hotel". It's also much easier and less clumsy to say "annotel" rather than "Uh Hotel". But, so much depends on what part of the country we're from, maybe how we were taught, and also shouldn't we have arrived at a time in our lives when we speak in the way we're most comfortable? IMO grin

lemsip Thu 02-Jul-20 19:35:47

an hotel, silent H not that anyone says it that way these days

Ngaio1 Thu 02-Jul-20 23:27:19

Silent "h". I always say an (h)otel.