“An Historical Moment”

Don’t blame me for the bad grammar in the title of this post.  I didn’t make it up.  I just borrowed it from the title of Mike McCafferty and Jason Makiaris’ latest Acceptable TV entry called, you guessed it, An Historical Moment.

Once again the guys need our help to get their show on the air.  I’ll let Jason tell you what you need to do in his email below. 

Hey Y’all,

For those keeping score at home, we’ve now had three episodes of L33t Haxxors air on Vh1. Thanks to everyone who has supported us and voted over the past few weeks. If you missed an episode and want to see it, click on one of the links below

L33t Haxxors Episode 1
L33t Haxxors Episode 2
L33t Haxxors Episode 3

This week we are debuting a new series on Acceptable TV entitled An Historical Moment which is hosted by yours truly, and is sure to delight as well as confuse many of you. We love this silly little show, and hope you’ll vote for it. Click the link below to go to the voting page and if you are so inclined, click the “Vote For This Video” link (with the heart next to it) above our video. For some reason, you no longer need to register to vote, so just click away and vote as many times as you like. There aren’t any limits as to how many times you can vote.

Watch “An Historical Moment”

Don’t forget to tune in and see if we air again this Friday night at 10!

Thanks again!

– Jason

So watch and vote for An Historical Moment.  If you think their grammar is wrong, wait until you see what they did with history.

7 thoughts on ““An Historical Moment”

  1. Oddly enough, using the article “an” before “historical” is actually grammatically correct. Go figure. No wonder people have such a hard time learning English!

  2. Interesting. I’ve never heard anyone say that is correct before. I’d love to know your source.

    Here’s what “The Handbook of Good English” by Edward D. Johnson has to say on page 225: “‘An’ should be used only before a word that when spoken begins with a vowel sound. ‘An ear’ and ‘an heir’ are correct. ‘An hotel’ and ‘an historian’ are wrong because the words begin with a sounded ‘h’, and ‘an utopia’ and ‘an eulogy’ are wrong because the words begin with the sound of a consonantal ‘y’.”

  3. I was just congratulating you on using the proper article in your title when I read your complaint about “bad grammar.” I, too, was taught in elementary school to use an before any word starting with an h, although I have noticed many times since then that most people do not. In further quest for an answer, I go to the source, the Oxford English Dictionary (online), which traces the etymology of words back to their earliest written usage:

    An. Indefinite article: the older and fuller form of a, now retained only before a vowel sound, as an orator, an honour, an x, an ‘M.P.’; also by most writers before h, and by some even before eu, {umac} (= y{umac}), in unaccented syllables, as an hyæna, an euphonic change, though many writers, and most speakers, now use a in such positions. An originated as a lighter or stressless pronunciation of the numeral án ‘one’; see above: already by 1150, in midl. dial. it was reduced before a cons. to a; but in the south, the fuller an, even retaining part of its earlier inflected cases, is found as late as 1340. An was often retained before w and y in 15th c., as an wood, an woman, an yere, such an one, and was regular before h down to 17th c., as an house, an happy, an hundred, an head (1665). Its history thus shows a gradual suppression of the n before consonants of all kinds, and in all positions.

    Therefore, congratulations to both sides — you are both correct.

  4. It’s sort of a anachronistic, although not incorrect use. I’m used to it, as I have been a student of ancient and old languages for well over a decade. From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    The theory behind using an in such a context, however, is that the h- is very weak when the accent is on the second rather than the first syllable (giving rise, by analogy, to an habitual offender, an humanitarian, an hallucinatory image, and an harassed schoolteacher). Thus no authority countenances an history[emphasis added], though a few older ones prefer an historian and an historical. Today, however, an hypothesis and an historical are likely to strike readers and listeners as affectations.

  5. This is funny. I thought the guys were trying to screw with grammar the way they were screwing with history, so I thought it would be fun to point it out. Turns out they were right!

    I’ve got to say that it may be grammatically correct to also use “an” but it still looks and sounds strange to me. I was taught the more modern use.

    It’s nice to have a couple of English experts among my readers. Thank you for your input. I learned something new today!

  6. Holy freaking crap. And that’s about all I can say about that.

    Though I will agree that using “an” before a sounded H always grates on me. Acceptable, correct, or otherwise, it bugs me. Though, I suppose from a “descriptive grammar” point of view, we have to accept it’s okay because it’s accepted. But it does sound weird to me.

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