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Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms?
Does one use 'a' or 'an' before the word 'X-Ray'?

Quite simply, should a sentence read "a XML report" or "an XML report"?

marked as duplicate by Kit Z. Fox, JSBձոգչ, psmears, FumbleFingers, kiamlaluno Jun 30 '11 at 20:15

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

It's "an XML report", because which form of the indefinite article to use is decided by how the next word is pronounced. In this case, it's pronounced:

An ex-emm-ell report

'XML' begins with a vowel sound, 'e', so an is used rather than a.

  • 2
    +1 - Even if the reader expands the abbreviation to "Extensible Markup Language", it would still take "an". With some abbreviations, you'd need to consider what's being abbreviated and whether the abbreviation is normally pronounced in its abbreviated form or in its expanded form; with XML it works out the same both ways. – bye Jun 30 '11 at 19:53

"An XML report" - because it is eXeMel - the sound starts with a vowel.

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