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a/an MRI, LHA, UFO ... ?

(5 Posts)
Trill Sun 12-May-13 22:49:22

This could be useful when dealing with unfamiliar acronyms.

I had never seen "UFO" before I would be able to deduce whether it was pronounced "you-eff-oh" or "ooo-foe" by whether "a" or "an" was used.

chateauferret Sun 12-May-13 22:31:20

The 'n' is there for liaison if there would otherwise be consecutive vowel sounds so it's required if the acronym is pronounced as starting with a vowel, irrespective of how it's written. UFO for instance starts with a Y-glide so no n required. This is the same rule as for nouns in general; acronyms are not differently treated; they may confuse because they are spelled according to different rules from ordinary nouns, but for phonological rules that matters not.

Trill Fri 10-May-13 15:51:35

I agree. It's the sound that matters, not the letter.

chocoluvva Fri 10-May-13 15:42:42


The incorrect use of 'an' before 'Hotel' irritates me too!

cumfy Fri 10-May-13 14:41:39

an MRI, an LHA and a UFO surely ?

It's all in the first syllable of the vocalised acronym ... isn't it ?

Not whether the initial letter is a consonant or a vowel.

So many times I see otherwise perfectly good English, punctuated in terms, with:

a MRI, a LHA, an UFO

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