"Ernest, to be honest, I was impressed that you used "an horrible tie" rather than "a horrible tie" which most people mistakenly say and write." Oh, for God's sake, another snooty grammarian who is wrong. Let me explain: "an" was used for a time in Britain before words beginning with "h" because the "h," which originally was a glottal fricative (think of the Scottish pronunciation of Loch) softened so much that, for many English speakers, it disappeared altogether. Those people would have pronounced "horrible" as "orrible." Since the new pronunciation begins with a vowel sound, the article "an" was used, as it always is before vowel sounds. However, the vast majority of English speakers now actually pronounce the "h" at the beginnings of words. Since this produces a consonant sound, the article "a" is used. The use of "an" before a word that begins with "h" is, in fact, the mistake, based purely on the way these words used to be pronounced by some. By the way, most words that begin with silent "h's" now are also a byproduct of that very same movement. Notice that in many old documents, words such as "history" and "horrible" may have been spelled with or without the "h." When it was recognized that the consonant was being pronounced by most people, an effort in the education system was made to standardize the spellings with the "h." However, many words, such as "onour" and "our" were dragged along mistakenly because of the masses of people who were learning this rule. These resulted in today's words "honor," "hour," and so forth, words that were NEVER pronounced with initial consonants. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to continue insisting that people say and write "an history," etc.