Re: Articles with Acronyms

Subject: Re: Articles with Acronyms
From: Margaret Forbes <Margaret -dot- Forbes -at- NOPRMD -dot- TELEMAX -dot- NO>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 1995 23:46:27 +0100

Nora wrote:

>>I, too, use "a" before history, and I would suppose that that's standard
usage.
>>But what about honor? Since the "h" isn't pronounced, I always use "an".
>>"It's a honor..." just doesn't seem to work, which is why I said before that
article use has more to do with the way a word or acronym is pronunced,
rather than how it's spelled.

>>I looked in my style guide for info about this--I couldn't find any. But I'm
betting that in places where "history" is pronounced "`istory", "an `istory"
is perfectly acceptable.
******************
"The Good English Guide" (which is British), compiled and written by
Godfrey Howard (Pan Macmillan Publishers Limited, 1993, ISBN
0-333-53867-6) says on the subject of "'a' or 'an'" :

"(1) When a word begins with an 'h' which is not sounded (heir, hour, honest,
honour), use *an*: an honest broker, an hourly rate. It is better not to write
'an hotel', 'an historian', 'an habitue', even if you drop the 'h' in speech, as
in French, which some people still do: 'an 'otel'. That sounds dated now
and is heard less and less, although Anita Brookner, whose Hotel du Lac
(1984) won the Booker Prize, insists on 'an hotel'."
...
(3) Before abbreviations and letters listen to the *sound*: an A road, a B
road ...

Margaret Forbes, technical writer/translator, Trondheim, Norway
Margaret -dot- Forbes -at- noprmd -dot- telemax -dot- no


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