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I saw the following sentence today:

It has a (admittedly poor) government.

I agree that without the text in brackets, this sentence is correct:

It has a government.

But when I read the original sentence, I want to change it to:

It has an (admittedly poor) government.

My question is, when deciding "an" vs. "a", do I consider text insight brackets or not?

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  • What I have seen in the past, not universally, is something like "... has a(n admittedly poor) government...". Apr 16, 2018 at 14:44

1 Answer 1

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You should not consider the brackets. When in doubt, read what you write aloud. and you may be surprised how useful this technique is at flushing out bad English.

But beware of "an hotel". I always refer to "a hotel" but there are wierd people, the unfortunate victims of expensive educations, that sometimes insist on "an hotel", as if they might go into a pub and ask for "an half of bitter".

Gotta love English.

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    I suspect that those who go to "an hotel" or have "an half of bitter" do so because in their dialect, the "h" in both words is silent. Apr 16, 2018 at 15:03
  • Check your weird spelling @Aethelbald! But +1 for the "an hotel" - I agree, but dropping h is really popular these days, especially with "historic": "an historic day".
    – Pam
    Apr 16, 2018 at 15:04
  • Four candles anyone?
    – Pam
    Apr 16, 2018 at 15:05
  • @Jeff, agreed about the dialect. I'm talking aboutprivileged types who use Received Pronunciation. They will write about an hotel and thenorder a half of bitter. THey have another and soon become as pissed as an ewt.
    – Aethelbald
    Apr 16, 2018 at 15:17