On Twitter last night I posted a correction to an email blast from President Barack Obama where he said, “this is a historic step.” The correction of course, is that it was “an historic step.” This is based on everything I ever learned in English class and read in any grammar books through my schooling years.
I should have known that there would be many who would respond and defend our beloved President simply because of their feelings for him, but there were just as many valid responses challenging the “an” vs. “a” preceding “h” words rule.
It was certainly entertaining reading. But know this: I know I’m right. I don’t need any additional reading or instruction on this particular point. You can show it to me, and I’ll happily play along, but it’s never going to change what I know to be right. If you want to show me your links in hopes of changing my mind, I’ll simply show you mine.
Here’s the deal, folks: there are some who feel that “a historic” is now acceptable, but there are none (with any clout, anyway) that say “an historic” is wrong. If I’m writing something to the entire populace (as I am with every post I make here, I assure you), I’ll choose the one that is universally correct. Sure, some might read “an historic” and think, “oh — that’s the old usage,” or perhaps, “well, he’s being quite formal now, isn’t he?” They might even think I’m being an old fuddy-duddy. But they won’t believe me to be wrong, at least not after a minimal education on the subject. However, if you write, “a historic,” there will be many who think you’re wrong simply because they’ve never heard of the “new allowances.” Many of those won’t even bother to research it one bit, they’ll just know you’re wrong and be done with you. Like me. Why risk it?