"a/an" in English
Dale Botkin email (remove spam text)
On Wed, 10 Jan 2001, Brandon Fosdick wrote:
> For acronyms you're "supposed" to always use 'an', but nobody actually does
> since it sounds bad for some acronyms.
> "A NASA report" vs. "An NASA report"
If you pronounce the acronym as a word like "NASA", it's "A NASA report".
If you spell out the acronym, it would be "An N-A-S-A report". So it
still works; words that start with a vowel sound are preceded by "an",
words that begin with a consonant sound are preceded by "a".
I've never heard the rule of always using "an" for acronyms, but who knows
what English departments are teaching now?? My last English course was
just after rock formed and before the dinosaurs (1978).
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
-- Isaac Asimov
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