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I just asked a question a moment ago, the subject of which was "Is there a word for taking an (possibly undeserved) authoritative tact?"

And I immediately had the follow up question of "was that sentence grammatically correct?" Namely, does the article a/an connect to what's in the parentheses (in which case I should have used "a") or to the adjective that follows, which the article actually refers to (in which case I did the right thing).

marked as duplicate by Dr.Dredel, David M, Andrew Leach, phenry, Hellion Apr 12 '14 at 1:42

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  • Your question is answered here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/3368/…. – Alraxite Apr 10 '14 at 20:55
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    Reading involves hearing mental speech. A/an is based on how you would actually say the sentence, not on how it's written. You wouldn't say an possibly undeserved authoritative tact, just as you wouldn't say in parentheses if you were speaking your sentence with it's parenthetical phrase. – anongoodnurse Apr 10 '14 at 21:16
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    It always applies to the sound that follows when you say it out loud, regardless of intonation or punctuation. Punctuation is not audible. – John Lawler Apr 11 '14 at 0:17

"Is there a word for taking an (possibly undeserved) authoritative tact?" It should be 'a' because when speaking, you would naturally say a (possibly undeserved) authoritative tact and the use of parentheses brackets within a sentence would follow this rule.

Similarly, Inge de Mönnink defines discontinuity as "the situation in which the words of an (immediate) constituent (at some level in the analysis of the sentence) are not adjacent to each other" (On the Move: The Mobility of Constituents in the English Noun Phrase, 2000).

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