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The H Factor

I stopped watching ‘live’ TV a few years ago. Soaps were boring me with their repetitive storylines, and there generally didn’t seem to be anything worth watching. The only programmes I liked watching were The X Factor, Great British Bake Off & Sewing Bee, Dancing On Ice, The Voice and Wimbledon, most of which I can catchup on their On Demand services.


At one time my favourite show was The X Factor, despite yelling at the TV when they sent someone good home and kept a rubbish one, but last year’s ‘effort’ with celebrities put me off completely, so now that shall probably be filed under ‘B’ for BIN, like the soaps.


"What does that have to do with the H Factor?" I hear you ask. It was a play on words – I’m a wordsmith you know! Anyhow, back to The H Factor.


Have you ever written a sentence and not known whether to use ‘a’ or ‘an’ before a word beginning with H? I’ve heard people get it wrong - even verbally - and that gets my back up even more as it’s the aural version that is the key! I digress, let me step back a bit first. When you use words that begin with a vowel (a, e, I, o and u) you use ‘an’ before it: ‘an ice cream’ rather than ‘a ice cream’ – say it out loud (but not near my hubby as he has a serious ice cream addiction!), see how silly it sounds with the ‘a’. Well the same rule applies to words beginning with a consonant, you use ‘a’ rather than ‘an’ – ‘a cat’ rather than ‘an cat’. These are the basics that we usually learn at a young age.


So what about the H then? With most things in the English language, there is always an exception to the rule, and in this case it is the H, although it really isn’t difficult to master. Again, use it verbally first (or in your head if you start getting strange looks from others in the room).


A Hotel              A Holiday                   A Hint that I need a holiday…

An Hotel            An Holiday                 An Hint that this isn’t right….

The secret is how the H word is used – if it begins with the “huh” sound (Sorry about that, I have no other way of explaining it!) then it has the ‘a’ before it. If you can’t hear the “huh’ then it sounds like a vowel…

hOnour hOur hOnest hOnestly, now you think about it, it makes more sense, doesn’t it?