Why the “H” Is It There?


Silent Hs

“Inspector Smith! Inspector Smith!”

Grammar Smith looked around, but couldn’t quite see who was calling her name. She felt a tug on her jacket and looked down. There was a small boy with tousled hair and a quizzical look gazing up at her.

“Hello there. Who might you be?” Grammar asked.

“I’m Ellison, and I want to know what the ‘h’ is doing in ‘honor.’”

“What?” Grammar didn’t quite understand.

“Well, why is the ‘h’ there? It doesn’t make a sound. It isn’t doing anything,” Ellison declared. “It seems pretty suspicious to me.”

“That’s a really good question. In this case, the ‘h’ tagged along when the word migrated over from France and started living in English,” Grammar explained. “There are other foreign words we’ve adopted where the ‘h’ is in the picture, but doesn’t do any work – words like heir, hour, messiah, Hannah, g

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