A habitual action / an habitual action

Discussion in 'English Only' started by dreamlike, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hi everyone,

    Given that an sound in the word 'habitual' is sounded, why is it the case that saying 'an habitual action' is "considered correct among educater speakers", as suggested by this answer on Yahoo! answers?

    I'm a bit puzzled as judging by a quick Google search, 'an habitual action' seems to more common that 'a habitual action'. :rolleyes:
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Though I'm no academic star, I have a couple of degrees, dreamlike. I'd use "a habitual action". I don't think that using "an" in that phrase is any mark of superior education. Those who use "an" probably don't sound the "h" or sound it softly in their speech.
     
  3. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you for your answer, Mr Owlman. That's not the point, though. :) I can't quite understand why it should even be possible, using 'an' before 'habitual' I mean. The sound in question -- -- is sounded in this word.
     
  4. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    You are writing with a lot of confidence about how people you have never met should pronounce the word. I've heard people pronounce "habitual" with a very soft "h" so that the word sounds a lot like "abitual". I don't think people who do this are wrong. Do you?

    The only reason that I brought up my own education is that you saw fit to mention that Yahoo Answers said "an habitual action" was considered correct among educated speakers. If that had nothing to do with your point, why did you refer to it?
     
  5. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Perhaps I'm relying too heavily on dictionaries, of which none lists 'habitual' with an h-dropping.
     
  6. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    There's a misunderstanding. I meant that I didn't ask about whether or not using 'an' is any mark of superior education, but why is it even possible. Now I know why it is. I might have phrased my question incorrectly.
     
  7. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Fair enough, dreamlike. I'm glad you and I cleared this minor misunderstanding up. :) They do pop up in the forum with some frequency.
     
  8. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Especially when it's late in the night and one (in this case, me) didn't have a good night's sleep. I'm sorry for the confusion.

    It remains a question, though, why dictionary compilers didn't think it relevant to mention that an h-dropping occurs frequently in the word 'habitual', which I had no way of knowing about. :D
     
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Dreamlike, if you put an into the search box at the top of the page, you'll find this Usage Note in the WR English dictionary:
    You might also like to look at this bumper thread: A/an: historic, historian, historical, hotel, humanitarian, Hawaiian, honour, herb, hypothesis ...
     
  10. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you very much, Loob, I'll give it a read. :thumbsup:

    edit: I've just finished reading the thread linked by Loob (actually reading the first four pages of it was enough for me) and I have no further questions. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014

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