a honest man/ an honest man

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by cuviense, May 21, 2008.

  1. cuviense Senior Member

    Spain (Galician/Spanish)
    Hi all,

    I'd like to ask you which of this two forms is right: an honest man or a honest man, since the "h" is voiceless. Does the rule of using "an" before vowels apply to this case? I know "h" is not a vowel, but as it is mute...

    Thanks a lot for your help
  2. cubaMania Senior Member

    Yes, it is generally the initial sound which determines this, so the most standard English would be "an honest man".
    From Merriam-Webster usage note:
  3. cuviense Senior Member

    Spain (Galician/Spanish)
    Thank you very much indeed! :)
  4. Gesanan

    Gesanan Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    cómo sew pronunciaría "an honest man"

  5. david.escuizo Senior Member

    Working in England
    Spanish (Spain)
    Exacto: an onest man
  6. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    English has waaaaay more glottal stops than what most native speakers believe. (I'll spell the glottal stop as "? " - in the phonetic alphabet, it doesn't have the little dot underneath).
    It means you don't say 'anonest' (that's the Spanish way of reading a whole sentence). You say 'an ? onest' , with a clear cut in between.

    Same with 'an ? icicle'. (It's not mandatory, and I'm sure we are going to see messages saying 'I don't do that'. Yes, you do. Believe me.). A foreigner whose language doesn't use the ?, hears those glottal stops very clearly.

  7. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    On sort of a related issue, I saw in a Mexican newspaper phonetic transcriptions of some English words. For the English word "dated" they transcribed the "t" as an "r." In AmE, the medial "t' becomes pretty much a soft "d" and this transcription helped me see how at least in Mexican Spanish a medial 'r' is just like a little glottal flip of some kind (don't know the technical term here), not really what an English speaker thinks of as an "r" sound.
  8. Spug Senior Member

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But your statement is way too black-and-white.

    I don't typically make a glottal stop when pronouncing "an honest man," especially if I'm speaking fluidly. Usually it sounds the same as the first two syllabls in "another." There is no glottal stop in that word.

    Consider the difference between these 2 pronunciations in American English:


    "Im an honest man."

    Most Americans pronounce "button" with a clear glottal stop. But "an honest man"? Not all of the time. Not even close.

  9. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    There is web access to the Boston collection of newscasts, and you can statistically measure how many glottal stops English really has. There are also pages of less of a Queen's English pronunciation.
    Only a non-English speaking person may noticed them, cuz they sound strange. I never said 'always', but it's more frequent than an English ear will notice.

  10. elianecanspeak Senior Member

    by Lake Michigan
    English - EEUU
    It was our lack of glottal stops that got us from "una naranja" to "an orange". Because of our lack of stops the "n" migrated from the beginning of the noun to the end of the preceding article.
  11. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay

    Sure, same with 'apron/napron'. Or now with 'a whole nother story'. But single examples don't hace un verano... no? ;)

  12. mabilli New Member

    I'd rather know the correct English grammar for the written language and not the spoken one
  13. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    I would probably say "an honest man" but write "a honest man." I am not sure either is right or wrong in writing though.
  14. SolAguila

    SolAguila Senior Member

    It is an honest man as "h" is not pronounced.... it is pronounced as an Onest man

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