Consider the following sentences:

I am staying in a hotel nearby.

I am staying in an hotel nearby.

I know that both are correct. But I would like to know why? I do not see any proper reason for the second one as the 'h' is not silent as in French. So, what could be the reason?

2 Answers 2


Style guides are divided on 'a' vs 'an' before a silent 'h'.

The general rule would be to follow the pronunciation of the dialect you are writing for.

If your audience would drop the aitch when speaking, use 'an'.

  • Like I said, in all the various dialects that exist, 'h' isn't silent in hotel! (well maybe in a few, but not in the common ones, like British, American, Australian, Indian etc.)
    – Adil Ali
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:16
  • There absolutely are regional dialects that would pronounce hotel with a silent h. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – relaxing
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:19

In written English, I think it's always ...

I'm staying in a hotel nearby.

Nevertheless, in any dialect (not sure AmE or BrE), if the initial /h/ is pronounced as a vowel, it will be...

I'm staying in an hotel nearby.

  • I am sure of both being right, I have the 'Oxford A:Z of Grammar' book which says so.
    – Adil Ali
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:09
  • That is the problem. Hotel has a the 'h' pronounced both in American and British dialects. Then why does the book say that both are right?
    – Adil Ali
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:10
  • It's an old-fashioned rule. Some British dialects would say "an 'otel."
    – relaxing
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:16
  • Any reason for, as you say, 'dropping the h' ?
    – Adil Ali
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:25
  • Some commentary on the history of h-dropping: english.stackexchange.com/questions/23396/…
    – relaxing
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:35

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