Though proper article usage is usually a challenging part of writing in English, determining which indefinite article to utilize (a or that an ) is comparatively straightforward. As outlined in another article, that a is utilized if a noun or adjective starts with a consonant sound, whereas that an is employed before a vowel sound. Consonants tend to be pronounced like consonants, and vowels are often pronounced like vowels, with some exceptions. For instance, at American English, H seems like a consonant in”a hundred” but seems just like the vowel O at”an hour,” and U seems just like the consonant Y at”a college” but seems like a vowel”an undergraduate.”

Choosing whether to utilize a or even a having an abbreviation or acronym might be more complex. When an abbreviation is normally spoken correspondence by letter, then the indefinite article ought to be selected based on the pronunciation of this very first letter, rather than of the true phrase represented by the abbreviation. A helpful trick which you may utilize to ascertain if or not a letter introduces a consonant or vowel sound would be to use transliteration or to read aloud. For instance:

  • A Food and Drug Administration-approved polymer
  • An FDA-approved polymer

Contrary to”Food and Drug Administration,” which starts with the consonant sound”f,” FDA” is pronounced”eff-dee-ay” and consequently starts with an E-such as a vowel sound. Therefore, the article that precedes the acronym”FDA.” Besides the correspondence F (“eff”), additional letters which are preceded by the article that an when read separately are the vowels A (“ay”), E (“ee”), that I (“eye”), and O(“oh”) and also the consonants H (“arch”), L (“el”), M (“em”), N (“en”), R (“ar”), S (“ess”), and X (“ex”), that can be vowel sounds.

The principles for indefinite articles utilize are distinct if an abbreviation is often pronounced as a phrase, and not as a set of letters. For instance, “FACS,” which stands for”fluorescence-activated mobile sorting,” is generally pronounced”facsimile,” and not”eff-ay-cee-ess.” Therefore,

  • A fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis
  • A FACS evaluation

Indefinite article use with different acronyms and abbreviations might be perplexing if spirituality changes in the area. 1 instance is”miRNA,” an abbreviation for”microRNA,” which in turn is an abbreviation for”micro-ribonucleic acid” The expression”miRNA” is pronounced as”em-eye-RNA,” microRNA,” or”my-RNA,” appearing to demand an, a, and a, respectively. How do we ascertain the right indefinite article to utilize in this circumstance? A fast Google Scholar investigation shows that”that a miRNA” yields 18,000 strikes, whereas”a miRNA” contributes to only about 5,000, signaling the typical option of an article with”miRNA” is a. Typically, if you’re not certain about which particular article to use with a certain abbreviation, a summary of certain literature in your area and discussions with coworkers might also be helpful.


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