Which should I use?

  1. Top restaurants within 5 minute walk

  2. Top restaurants within a 5 minute walk

For broader context, this is to be used as a section heading in an app, and so adding an article actually complicates the code, since it now requires the coder to programmatically distinguish between a and an based on the number falling between within and minute, since numbers beginning with one, eight-, or eleven would need the longer article.

closed as primarily opinion-based by anongoodnurse, Hot Licks, Chenmunka, Mitch, curiousdannii Nov 22 '16 at 13:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    Since you're using headlinese, 'need' becomes hard to define. I'd say the inclusion of the article improves how it sounds, but doesn't increase clarity. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '16 at 22:36
  • @EdwinAshworth, thanks for the reply. To be more precise, would it be grammatically incorrect to omit an article, or is this a matter of taste/style/sound? – New Dev Nov 21 '16 at 22:42
  • It's best to say 'grammaticality doesn't really apply to labels, headlines etc'. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '16 at 22:48
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    @EdwinAshworth Actually, headlinese is a serious area of study among linguistics, with many scholarly papers examining its usage. Headlinese has different grammar rules, but it is not true to say it has no grammar rules at all. – Laurel Nov 22 '16 at 2:00
  • If you bother to search here, there are easily a dozen questions about headlinese, many with excellent answers. – Hot Licks Nov 22 '16 at 3:40

I don't have the reputation to comment, but I wanted to add that the article is actually quite easy to determine programmatically. Use a small library to convert the duration to English (e.g. for Ruby, use Humanize) then prefix "an" if it begins with a vowel, or "a" for a consonant.

Regarding the actual question, I don't honestly think it matters. Just so long as you do that consistently across all headings in your app.

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