I’ve blogged before about when to use “a” and “an” with initialisms. Here’s a real-world example, taken from Huddleston and Pullum’s A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar:
It is typical for the subject of a clause to be an NP.
“But Karen, ‘n’ would take ‘a’ because it’s a consonant!”
Nope. “N” takes “an” when it’s pronounced as itself, the letter “en.” It begins with a vowel sound, which takes “an.”
Clearly, the authors intend for us to say “en pee” rather than “noun phrase.” The indefinite article “an” is the cue.
I bumped into an errant indefinite article a short while ago, and decided I’d tweet a link to the blog post I’d certainly written about such things.
Except there was no blog post. There was only a G+ post from 2015.
Now it’s a blog post.
I knew I’d written about this before. Here’s the proof. However, I’ll write about it again because it keeps coming back.
The issue at hand is whether one uses a or an before a given abbreviation. I’m sure that you were drilled on this in school (I sure was) by a teacher who insisted that you use a before a consonant and an before a vowel.
That’s partly correct. Continue reading “Definitely indefinite, or “Which article should I use?””