As we say "I need a double A battery" and write the battery as 'AA Battery', should we use 'a AA battery' or 'an AA battery' when writing about this object? Thought it was interesting and would like people's opinions on it :)


You pretty much always go by pronunciation, not by how it's written. You pronounce it "double-A" so, it's

I needed a AA battery for my remote.

Or, similarly,

My mom got me a AAA membership for my birthday.

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    That is rather a confusing answer, because there's more than one way to pronounce AA and AAA. For instance: "I needed a double-A battery for my remote" requires the article 'a', whereas "I needed an A-A battery for my remote" requires the article 'an'. – Erik Kowal Jun 13 '15 at 5:00
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    Fair enough, but I think the existence of two pronunciation variants for 'AA' that are both in common use requires the pronunciation to be spelled out in this case — simply to eliminate the possibility of confusing a reader who is reading it differently to themselves than the way the questioner habitually does. (Which leads me to observe that the OP is not justified in assuming that "we say "I need a double A battery" " when far from everybody says it that way.) – Erik Kowal Jun 13 '15 at 5:06
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    @ErikKowal Well, that isn't definitive proof that people pronounce it "A-A"... It could just as easily be a potential implication that they're confused about this rule. – Catija Jun 13 '15 at 5:16
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    Being of British origin, but having now lived in the USA for 15 years, I'd say there is a tendency to use 'double A' in the USA when referring to the battery — my guess is that this is at least partly to avoid potential confusion with the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, whose abbreviation is normally pronounced 'A-A'. But in Britain, the 'A-A' battery is definitely alive and well. While some people might be confused about the normal usage of a/an, I'd be pretty surprised if they accounted for more than a tiny proportion of those hits. Take a look at the Google hits and judge... – Erik Kowal Jun 13 '15 at 6:08
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    @JimBalter - My problem with "we say "I need a double A battery" " is not that I disagree that some (indeed, many) people say that: of course they do. It is that it appears to be a categorical statement that denies the existence of other usages. I assume the OP is of US origin (see my previous comment), but I can absolutely assure you that if he were to stay in Britain for any length of time, he would hear the 'A-A' variant far more often than 'double-A'. – Erik Kowal Jun 13 '15 at 6:12

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