This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Aitch bones - a rant!

These aitches! I mean, some you say (hello!) and some you don't (honestly).

Some are even trickier than that. I've always felt sorry for those clever people in the USA who don't like saying the aitches in herb or human. They have to pronounce these words so carefully (to make sure everyone knows they are missing out the aitch-sounds on purpose) that they almost burp when they say them.
My English teacher used to get into the same trouble with hotel - but then she was about a hundred and fifty years old.

Put'em in, miss'em out - people do it all the time and I've never noticed the sky falling

There is just one aitch word which drives me nuts, though. I'd hoped that eventually people would decide to say it my way, but now there's even an advert on the television which, horridly, GETS IT WRONG.



The advert is for high definition television - HD TV- and the word is, of course, aitch.

Aitch, for heaven's sake. Aitch! Look at it: aitch. Not, you will notice, haitch. (My town and postcode begin with aitches, which is perhaps why I get so heated about this small word. On the other hand, thank heavens I'm not called Hannah Hitchhouse.)

 I mean, what is people's problem with aitch??? Okay, some words beginning with aitch start with a h sound (hiccup) and some don't (honour). But are any words at all which start with a h sound and don't have an aitch at the beginning?

Well, not that I can think of at the moment.*

So aitch, okay? NOT haitch. Not never never no-how!


Word to use today: horrid. This word is from the Latin word horridus which means bristling or shaggy, from horrēre, which means to bristle.

*Apart from who!


  1. Agree with you as usual and in addition I can't bear AN hotel, AN historical...that kind of thing...even though they might be correct technically!

  2. In Northern Ireland, Protestant children are taught to say aitch and Catholic children are taught to say haitch. I'm not Irish but if I was, I'd want to be a Protestant.

    In Welsh, H is pronounced but it's treated as a vowel. There's no indefinite article in Welsh but the definite article is y before consonants and yr before vowels and nouns beginning with H. (A definite article after a vowel is 'r but I'll save that for another post.)

  3. I had no idea about the Protestant/Catholic divide in Northern Ireland. Wow, a real-life and current shibboleth (hm, perhaps shibboleths might make a post)!

    Lovely to hear about the Welsh, too, Sophie. These h s* seem to cause trouble wherever they go.
    *Apostrophes can be dodgy, too...