RE: Grammar help "a RMA" or "an RMA"?

Subject: RE: Grammar help "a RMA" or "an RMA"?
From: "Margaret Cekis" <Margaret -dot- Cekis -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 19:06:13 -0400

Shawn asked whether to use "a RMA" or "an RMA"?
"I understand that if a word begins with a vowel... but I don't think it
does. However, for the sake of curiosity, I decided to do a Google search
for ["a RMA" or "an RMA"].What I found was absolutely no consistency. Even
within a single document, both "a" and "an" were used. :-O
I am inclined to consistently use "a RMA", throughout my document.
Can anyone offer some advice?"
The rules for articles in English are purely phonetic or sound-related, not
spelling-related. Thus before initialisms like "RMA", the letter "R" starts
with a vowel sound, so we use "an". If you spell out "Returned Merchandise
Authorization", you would use "a", because "Return" starts with a consonant
sound. When words have different pronunciations in American and British
English, speakers on both sides of the pond follow the same phonetic rule,
but it may sound different. For instance, In both accents, the "h" in
"honor" is silent (or not pronounced) and we all say "an (h)onor". In the
US, we do pronounce the "h" in "horrible", but the Brits do not, so we say
"a horrible accident", while they say "an (h)orrible accident". HTH
Margaret Cekis, Johns Creek GA

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