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Thread: 'a' or 'an'

  1. #1
    cadrie is offline Newbie
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    'a' or 'an'

    Hi, Is it correct to say 'a' A-4 file or 'an' A-4 file?

  2. #2
    hanky is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Quote Originally Posted by cadrie View Post
    Hi, Is it correct to say 'a' A-4 file or 'an' A-4 file?
    I think it should be "an" because before an acronym or an abbreviation one uses "an". Example: I saw an SOS signal yesterday ....

    Not a teacher.

  3. #3
    cadrie is offline Newbie
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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Thanks a lot!

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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Sorry...but that's not the reason.

    A-4 file begins with a vowel, namely, "A"

    SOS begins with a vowel sound: ESS-O-ESS

    Use 'an' when the word begins with a vowel, or a vowel-sound.

  5. #5
    hanky is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    I think it should be "an" because before an acronym or an abbreviation one uses "an". Example: I saw an SOS signal yesterday ....

    Not a teacher.
    Well, it was my mistake. If an acronym or an abbreviation begins with A E F H I L M N O R S X one has to use "an" otherwise "a" is appropriate.

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Sorry...but that's not the reason.

    A-4 file begins with a vowel, namely, "A"

    SOS begins with a vowel sound: ESS-O-ESS

    Use 'an' when the word begins with a vowel, or a vowel-sound.


    To David: Yes, I know that, but the poster is a teacher of English therefore I assumed s/he knows this already.

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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Hanky: If an acronym or an abbreviation begins with A E F H I L M N O R S X one has to use "an"

    Take out the vowels, and F,H, L, M, N,R,S and X remain

    As letters per se, EFF, ELL, EMM, ENN,ESS and EXX commence with a vowel sound.
    (Compare B, C, D,G,J,K,P,Q,R,T,V,W,Y,and Z.)

    Hanky:Can you give an acronym or abbreviation beginning with R that is similar to "Send an SOS."...and so requires 'an'?

  7. #7
    hanky is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Hanky: If an acronym or an abbreviation begins with A E F H I L M N O R S X one has to use "an"

    Take out the vowels, and F,H, L, M, N,R,S and X remain

    As letters per se, EFF, ELL, EMM, ENN,ESS and EXX commence with a vowel sound.
    (Compare B, C, D,G,J,K,P,Q,R,T,V,W,Y,and Z.)

    Hanky:Can you give an acronym or abbreviation beginning with R that is similar to "Send an SOS."...and so requires 'an'?
    Well, David, you know I did not invent this rule myself I took it when surfing internet. Maybe you could be interested in seeing this documentary
    Code:
    http://www.jal.cc.il.us/departmentpages/english/pdfs/write_place_tutorials/17_advanced_study_guide_for_the_complete_use_of_A_and_An.pdf
    By this time I could not think of any abbreviation or acronym starts with R and requires "an" as the rule said.

    I am not sure whether this rule I said above for using "an" and "a" is correct or not therefore I post it here to have your feedback.

    Please note that I am not an English teacher nor a native English speaker. Correct me whenever you find my mistake. Thanks.

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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Hanky: understand that others read our posts, and it is important for learners that any inadvertent 'misinformation' picked up in good faith but from unreliable sources (such as the Internet!) needs to be commented on.

    I checked that site, and it spells out about 'an' before vowels, and then says:
    Use 'an' in front of these letters of the alphabet (when used as isolated letters) because of
    the way they are sounded: A E F H I L M N O R S X
    "My last name begins with an M. Write an X in the blank. No student wants an F for a
    course grade."

    Note: it refers to 'letters of the alphabet', not acronyms or abbreviations, and is reiterating what I posted earlier:
    As letters per se, EFF, ELL, EMM, ENN,ESS and EXX commence with a vowel sound.
    (Compare B, C, D,G,J,K,P,Q,R,T,V,W,Y,and Z.)
    Last edited by David L.; 18-Feb-2009 at 15:10.

  9. #9
    hanky is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Hanky: understand that others read our posts, and it is important for learners that any inadvertent 'misinformation' picked up in good faith but from unreliable sources (such as the Internet!) needs to be commented on.
    Well, in my very first post I have stated that I was not a teacher as it is required in our forum rules. And therefore the readers are supposed to be careful and recheck what they read in my post. But I agree that it should have been very much better if I have commented "this rule" need to be confirmed by a professional English teacher.

    Now, to help our learners be clear, could you please tell us that you agree or disagree with the rule state that: using "an" before an abbreviation or acronym starts with A E F H I L M N O R S X ?

  10. #10
    hanky is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'a' or 'an'

    Well, I replyed when you were editing your post. :)

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