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Thread: "a/an" in English
face BY : M. Adam Davis email (remove spam text)

> For acronyms you're "supposed" to always use 'an', but nobody actually does
> since it sounds bad for some acronyms.

I'd never heard that - I figured it was always whether the first
pronounced sound was a vowel or consonant, for instance:

> "A NASA report" vs. "An NASA report"

This is pronounced as one word, which starts with a consonant sound.  You
could say, "An N A S A report" (sounding out each letter), but the acronym
is now used as one word.  The N, if sounded as seperate letters, is
pronounced "EN", since the N itself is really nothing without sounds
before or after it.

> "An NFL playoff game"

This is pronounced letter by letter.  The letter N is pronounced "EN",
therefore one uses an.

> "An NBA star"

Again the N is pronounced "EN"

> "A JPL sponsored project"

The J is pronounced "JAE", starting with a consonant means you need to use
the A.

> "An IRS audit"

We all sound each letter out, the I makes a vowel sound, but even if we
pronounced it as one word (Which UK would get a kick out of, "Where'd the
american's get their tax code?" "They pulled it out of their irs!") irs
would still start with a vowel.

> "A UNAV3200 autopilot" (which, BTW, uses a PIC for servo control)

Whether you sound out the letters or pronounce it 'unav 32000', it always
starts with a vowel.

> "A PWM generator"

The letters are pronounced seperately, P is pronounced "PEE"

> "An A/D Converter"

"AE to DEE" starts with A

> "A PIC microprocessor"

PIC is pronounced as one word ('cause we're all lazy), but even if each
letter were sounded it would stil started with a consonant.


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See also: www.piclist.com/techref/index.htm?key=aan+english
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