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“a/an” preceding a parenthetical statement

This question is a little hard to summarize in the title.

I sometimes like to use parentheses to add additional (but nonessential) details to a sentence - like I did just there. My criteria for such use is usually that the sentence could be read with the text in the parentheses, or excluding the text, and each would be an equally valid and grammatically correct statement.

So I am curious: in a case where the parenthesis is preceded by the word 'a', and the word in parenthesis begins with a vowel (or unsounded h) that would require it to be changed to 'an', what is the correct statement?

  1. In addition to these three journal articles containing background information, I have included a (anecdotal) reference describing this proposed cure.
  2. In addition to these three journal articles containing background information, I have included an (anecdotal) reference describing this proposed cure.

I feel as though if I use the word 'an' it draws too much attention to the word anectodal, and I might as well just remove the parentheses. I'm just trying to slip the word in there to cover my ass if someone says "That's not a valid reference - it's just an anectote." If you are curious about the context: the anecdotal reference is included because it describes the process in greater detail than is captured by my summary.

Feel free to comment on the validity of my use of parentheses while you're at it.

marked as duplicate by JSBձոգչ, Robusto, Dusty, Marthaª, RegDwigнt Mar 30 '11 at 13:55

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  • Close to being a duplicate, but it's actually the opposite case from those presented in the questions. – Alain Mar 30 '11 at 13:19
  • I realize that a/an is based on phonetic preference, but as I said, my preference is that a mental oration of the phrase can include or exclude the parenthesized word. In that case, would not the former be the correct choice? – Alain Mar 30 '11 at 13:22
  • the examples are opposite, but the core of the question is the same. Do you base the a/an decision on the first word in parentheses or the first word after them? Also, nohat's answer works for both. – Dusty Mar 30 '11 at 13:22
  • I concede, the issue is fundamentally the same. I suppose my challenge is that I tend to read parenthesized sentences twice, once with and once without - see how the meanings compare - and settle on something in between. I'm probably just really weird that way. – Alain Mar 30 '11 at 13:30