Is the ‘H’ Silent?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Derek Kornelsen
Posted on: July 18, 2001

Is the ‘H’ silent?

It depends on where you are from. In North America, much of America pronounces ‘herb’ with a silent ‘h’. However, following the British pronunciation, English-speaking Canadians pronounce the ‘h’. But, over the past decade I have noticed more and more Canadians adopting the American pronounciation with the silent ‘h’ as American culture increasingly exerts influence via television. Even in print, the heavy preponderance of American publications using the indefinite article ‘an’ before ‘herb’, ‘herbal’ or ‘herbalist’ is having an effect on Canadian pronunciation.

In Britain and most other English-speaking countries, the ‘h’ is not silent. Even in countries where English is a second language such as India and continental Europe, the ‘h’ is pronounced.

At Richters, we use the British pronunciation.

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