From what I’ve learned during grade school, information which can easily be found online, you should use an when the following word starts with a vowel:
- "An animal"
- "An alien"
- "An ewok"
And a when the following noun starts with a consonant:
- "A car"
- "A radio"
- "A xylophone"
Following these rules seem to ease how we pronounce things. If I reversed the rules and tried saying An xylophone, or a alien, I seem to struggle more than if following the rules.
When pronouncing the acronym LEA, short-hand for Local Educational Agency Representative, myself and my peers would use "an", such as:
- "Do you have an LEA?"
- "An LEA is required for that."
I’m not sure if this is specific to acronyms, since a LEA may be ambiguous:
- a LEA
However, I’ve seen/used acronyms following an a without issue:
- a PHP file exists in the system
Would saying an LEA be improper? Is there a documented reason for why this rule complicates how we pronounce our words?