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Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms?

Why do we write 'He has an MA' and not ' a MA' even though MA does not begin with a vowel? Can anybody give me anymore examples like it?

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt May 4 '11 at 10:32

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Dear nicholas, at 1.4k rep I would expect you to search the site first. This question gets asked over and over and over and over and over again. (And I could go on, but I've run out of space.) –  RegDwigнt May 4 '11 at 10:35

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

We write "an MA" rather than "a MA" because the choice of article is decided by pronunciation and "M" is pronounced with an initial vowel sound.

Other examples:

  • an FTP transfer
  • an HMRC office
  • an L-plate
  • an MOT test
  • an NCP car-park
  • an RAC van
  • an SSD device
  • an X-Ray image
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I like your answer because you get a point in 1,5 lines. If you could give an example, it would be perfect. (Don't get me wrong, it's not bad as it is now, I just like to be super-explicit ahah). –  Alenanno May 4 '11 at 10:01
    
Gets tricky with SQL - depends if your pronounce it as ess-queue-ell or sequel –  mgb May 4 '11 at 15:37

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