I'd like to know the role of parentheses on a phrase. For example, which of the following is right, "it has an (unique) index" or "it has a (unique) index".

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    You could side-step the issue: It has an index which is unique. Or just remove the parentheses: It has a unique index. What purpose do the parentheses serve? – Weather Vane Nov 5 '18 at 21:38
  • If parentheses force this kind of ambiguity, then remove them or rephrase the sentence. This is not the right kind of grammatical hill to plant your flag on. – Jason Bassford Nov 6 '18 at 4:35

The paratheses indicate that it's an additional optional piece of information. But you still read it as if it's there, so the starting y sound of unique still dictates it should be a, not an:

It has a (unique) index.

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