RE: A vs An in front of an acronym beginning with L

Subject: RE: A vs An in front of an acronym beginning with L
From: Andrew Warren <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: Robyn Richards <robynrrr -at- hotmail -dot- com>, techwrl techwrl <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 05:24:08 -0800

Robyn Richards [robynrrr -at- hotmail -dot- com] wrote:

> I've had a quick look for usage of "a" vs "an" in front of an acronym beginning with a vowel sound,
> for example a (an?) LSP. It seems there is conflicting information. I just wanted to get a quick poll
> on what people are using.

Robyn:

It's not really a poll-worthy question; "an" is used if the acronym begins with a vowel sound.

Note that some acronyms are pronounced as words while others are pronounced letter-by-letter (those latter ones are sometimes called "initialisms" rather than "acronyms"). Thus you'd write "a NASA scientist" but "an NFL player", "a SCSI drive" but "an SDRAM chip", and "a RAM chip" but "an RDBMS programmer".

In your example, it'd be correct to use "an" unless your readers routinely pronounce "LSP" as a word that begins with a consonant sound.

-Andrew
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References:
A vs An in front of an acronym beginning with L: From: Robyn Richards

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