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    • Join Date: Dec 2006
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    #1

    A or an SMS

    Hello

    I'm just a bit unsure: Do you write "send me a SMS" or "send me an SMS". I thought the latter was correct because the indefinite article depends on how the next letter is pronunced. If it's a consonant sound you write a, if it's a vowel sound you write an (e.g. a university student but an umbrella). So it should be an SMS. Is this correct? Interestingly google yields results for both an SMS and a SMS.

    Advice of grammar expert appreciated! Thanks in advance.
    Karin
    Last edited by kameier; 29-Jan-2007 at 14:22.

  1. Harry Smith's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A or an SMS

    Quote Originally Posted by kameier View Post
    Hello

    I'm just a bit unsure: Do you wirte "send me a SMS" or "send me an SMS". I thought the latter was correct because the indefinite article depends on how the next letter is pronunced. If it's a consonant sound you write a, if it's a vowel sound you write an (e.g. a university student but an umbrella). So it should be an SMS. Is this correct? Interestingly google yields results for both an SMA and a SMS.

    Advice of grammar expert appreciated! Thanks in advance
    Karin
    Yes, I think "an SMS" is correct.

  2. Philly's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
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    #3

    Re: A or an SMS

    Hi Karin
    .
    Yes, "an SMS" is correct in both spoken and written English for exactly the reason you wrote.
    .
    Native speakers generally do not make an error such as "a SMS" in spoken English. This sort of error is most likely to occur only in written English.
    .
    I googled "a MBA" and one of the first results was this. The title is incorrectly written as "What is a MBA?" But if you read further, you will see that they wrote it correctly ("an MBA") throughout the text.
    .

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: A or an SMS

    Quote Originally Posted by Philly View Post
    Hi Karin
    .
    Yes, "an SMS" is correct in both spoken and written English for exactly the reason you wrote.
    .
    .
    .
    Of course, in Britain at least, you're more likely to hear 'a text'.

    b


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #5

    Re: A or an SMS

    Then what about 'special gift'?

    a special gift/an special gift?

  4. matilda
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    #6

    Talking Re: A or an SMS

    as once one of my teachers said, we should rely on what we hear not what we see.
    in words like SPECIAL or SMS, we hear an (e) before (s). so we should use AN

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: A or an SMS

    Quote Originally Posted by matilda View Post
    as once one of my teachers said, we should rely on what we hear not what we see.
    in words like SPECIAL or SMS, we hear an (e) before (s). so we should use AN
    But we don't hear an /e/ before the /s/ of 'special'. We do, of course, before 'especial' - but not before 'special' (though it's a common mispronunciation among ESLs - and possibly among some non-native English teachers ).

    b

  6. Philly's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
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    #8

    Re: A or an SMS

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Of course, in Britain at least, you're more likely to hear 'a text'.
    b
    Having just returned to the US from a long stint in Germany, I've consulted an expert (my nephew ) and can confirm the use of 'a text' here, too.
    .
    .
    @Asad & Matilda
    .
    The pronunciation of the abbreviation 'SOS' begins with an "es" sound (not "s") and the abbreviation 'MBA' begins with an "em" sound (not "m"). That's why you need to use the article 'an'.
    .
    As Bob noted, the first sound you hear when you pronounce the word 'special' is 's' -- so you have to say "a special gift".
    .
    Last edited by Philly; 29-Jan-2007 at 21:50.

  7. Harry Smith's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: A or an SMS

    Hi, Philly!
    Nice explanation!

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    #10

    Re: A or an SMS

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Of course, in Britain at least, you're more likely to hear 'a text'.

    b
    Often said without the final t

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