Re: How would you....?

Subject: Re: How would you....?
From: Arthur Comings <atc -at- CORTE-MADERA -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 13:56:22 PDT

> Lately, our developers have been arguing about which article should be used
> with the acronym SQL. Because many (most?) people pronounce SQL as "sequel,"
> they have taken to proclaiming the following sentence as very bad grammar:

> The figure below shows an SQL query.

> I say that "an" is the proper article when writing the sentence, even though
> I would use "a" if I spoke the same sentence.

> Any other opinions?

> ------------
> glen accardo glen -at- softint -dot- com
> Software Interfaces, Inc. (713) 492-0707
> Houston, TX 77084

We had to face this recently. If, as you note, many (most?) people
pronounce SQL as "sequel," I assume that they're going to pronounce it
in their heads the same way when they read it. So we settled on "a SQL

IMHO, written English must take careful account of how the language is
actually spoken. Any kind of "by the book" correctness that ignores
common speech patterns is risking slowing down the reader.

Hope that helps.

Arthur Comings

Corte Madera, California
atc -at- corte-madera -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com

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