Seeing as I'm new I apparently have to start a pseudo-duplicate thread rather than comment on an existing thread, so here it goes:

If the reason for it being "a uniform" rather than "an uniform" is to do with the consonant-like sound made by the diphthong "u" in modern english, then why do we still have to say that it was "an historic journey" rather than "a historic journey"?

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    Possible duplicate of Why we say "an historical" but "a history" – herisson Aug 20 '18 at 4:09
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    You don’t “have” to say “an historic”. It’s acceptable to say “a historic”. – herisson Aug 20 '18 at 4:10
  • Please use initial capital for "English" -- -1 just for that, this is ELU. – Kris Aug 20 '18 at 8:22

While it still depends on where you live, emphasis has shifted away from saying an historic.

It used to be that the h was silent, so an was used. But people have starting pronouncing the h more, so it's starting to switch over to just an a.

I actually grew up pronouncing the h in historic but still using an an—although I've recently changed that for a couple of reasons:

  • I like to follow common guidance, even if it's different from what I was used to in the past.
  • I can't really reconcile saying an historic while also saying a history.

The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), 7.32, says this about it:

The indefinite article a, not an, is used in English before words beginning with a pronounced h. (British English differs from American English in not pronouncing the h in many cases; when in doubt, check a standard dictionary.)

      a hotel
      a historical study


      an honor
      an heir

As for the h being silent in the UK, here is what Oxford Dictionaries says in the blog post "'A historic event’ or ‘an historic event'?":

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.

Today, though, these three words are generally pronounced with a spoken ‘h’ at the beginning and so it’s now more logical to refer to ‘a hotel’, ‘a historic event’, or ‘a horrific accident’.

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    Wait. OPs are expected to do as much homework. – Kris Aug 20 '18 at 8:23
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    When 'hotel' began to replace 'inn' as a name for a place where respectable people could make temporary stays, it was seen as a French word (with a silent 'h') so it was 'an hotel'. During the twentieth century this practice fell out of use as the word was absorbed into English and the 'h' pronounced. – Kate Bunting Aug 20 '18 at 8:37

There are many who cling (often pretentiously) to the use of 'an', even when they voice the 'h' in other cases (e.g., 'an ospital' but 'in hospital' or 'the hospital). However, it is still considered correct and natural to say 'an honour' or 'an honourable act'.

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