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Should I Choose 'An Hotel' or 'A Hotel?'

The English language is said to be one of the most difficult ones worldwide to learn. This is most likely because there are almost as many exceptions as there are grammar rules. Just when you manage to learn one rule, you find that the rule "doesn't always apply." For example, the word "an" normally precedes any words that begin with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) such as "an orange," "an umbrella" or "an apple."

This rule is fairly straightforward and easy to remember until you come to words beginning with the letter h. What word should you use if you want to write a word such as "hotel?"


Using Vowel Sounds

A very easy way to determine if you should use "an" or "a" before a letter beginning with h is to pronounce the word to see how it sounds. If you don't pronounce the letter h such as in the words "hour" or "honest", you would use the word "an". For example, "an hour" or "an honest man."

If you do pronounce the letter h at the beginning of the word such as "hair" or "happy," you should use the letter "a" before it. For example, "a hair" or "a happy girl."


An Exception To The Exception

After reading this, you probably think you have mastered the use of "a" or "an" with words beginning with h. For example, you can now write the words "a hospital" or "an heir" with confidence. You may wonder why people find this particular rule so difficult.

Well, to make matters more confusing, there is another exception to the above exception. If the accent of a word that begins with h falls on the second syllable, you would use the word "a" instead of "an." For example, "an historical event." Although this is grammatically correct, many people writers continue to use "a historical event."

Given the above rules and exceptions, the answer to our initial question is that you should use the term "a hotel."