Is It a Herbivore or an Herbivore?

The British say a herbivore since the "h" is silent. An American English speaker, however, typically chooses the article (a/an) that best suits his or her own pronunciation.

The British say a herbivore since the "h" is sounded. An American English speaker, however, should choose the article (a/an) that best suits his or her own pronunciation.

The indri is a/an herbivore that eats leaves, flowers, and seeds.

Be aware that the rule for using "a" or "an" is based on the sound made by the following word—not on how it's spelled.

Becoming a/an herbivore always involves some kind of specialization.

Relative frequency of the phrases a herbivore and an herbivore in British English
"A herbivore" vs. "an herbivore" in books through time (British English)
Source: Google Books Ngram Viewer
Relative frequency of the phrases a herbivore and an herbivore in American English
"A herbivore" vs. "an herbivore" in books through time (American English)
Source: Google Books Ngram Viewer

Follow the same convention when using the derived forms herbaceous, herbicide, and herbivorous.

The plant was eaten by a/an herbivorous animal.

Most American choose the article "an" with the words herb and herbal (the "h" is commonly silent). British English speakers, by contrast, usually pronounce the "h", and therefore say "a herb" as well as "a herbal...".

Share this article: Link copied to clipboard!

You might also like...

Leggings Are Or Leggings Is. Which Is Correct?

Knickers Are Or Knickers Is. Which Is Correct?

Jeans Are Or Jeans Is. Which Is Correct?