TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Articles with Acronyms From:Dan Glovier <Mercury!tsh!dan -at- MCS -dot- NET> Date:Tue, 10 Jan 1995 11:33:21 -0600
The Gods overheard Kelly Burhenne state:
> Question: When using an acronym (as you all know, very prevalent in our
> profession) preceded by an article, should you use the article that
> agrees with the first word the acronym represents, or use the article
> that agrees with the pronunciation of the acronym.
> e.g.: an FTP
> a FTP
> a SS2000 (SiteScan 2000)
> or an SS2000
> Kelly Burhenne
> burhennk -at- smtpgw -dot- liebert -dot- com
Use the article that agrees with the pronunciation of
acronym (i.e. an FTP).
Quoting from my Little, Brown Handbook (pg. 546):
When you use an abbreviation or acronym in writing, the article that
precedes it depends on how the abbreviation is to be read:
She was once an HEW undersecretary. (HEW is to be read as three letters,
not as a word or as Health, Education, and Welfare.) Many Americans
opposed a SALT treaty. (SALT is to be read as one word, salt, not as
four separate leatters.)
dan -at- tsh -dot- com
"A million years of evolution, we get Danny Quayle."
- "Insanity" Boingo