How to use A or An before Acronym?

Confused! What to use either A or An before an Acronym? Well, this is the most common query in English grammar. Let us start this lesson with a simple question.

Do your know what an acronym is?

An acronym is a word that is formed from the first letter or letters of each successive word of a compound term. In other words, we can say that it is formed by abbreviating the phrase. For example:

List of Homophones | Homophones Exa...
List of Homophones | Homophones Examples
AcronymCompound Term
LEDLight Emitting Diode
NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration
RSVPRespondez Sil Vous Plait (Reply if you please)
NDANational Defense Academy
FBIFederal Bureau of Investigation
MDDoctor of Medicine
BABachelor of Arts
PhDDoctor of Philosophy
DVDDigital versatile disc

The use of either “A” or “An” before an acronym depends upon the pronunciation of the Acronym. The use of these indefinite articles is not based upon the spelling of an acronym. This is the common mistake that people do while using “A” or “An” before Acronym.

In this post, we will see the rules regarding the usage of indefinite articles AandAn before the acronyms in detail.

A or An before Acronym – Rules

Rule-1

If an acronym begins with a vowel sound, we will use the article “An” before it.

Let us understand by the following examples.

Which indefinite article will be used before LED bulb?

Since LED is an acronym here. It sounds like a vowel ‘a’ in the beginning. Hence we use the article “An” before LED bulb.

An LED Bulb

Which indefinite article will be used before SOS?

Since SOS is an acronym here. It sounds like a vowel ‘e’ in the beginning. Hence we use the article “An” before SOS.

An SOS

Which indefinite article will be used before MRI report?

Since MRI is an acronym here. It sounds like a vowel ‘a’ in the beginning. Hence we use the article “An” before MRI report.

An MRI report

Which indefinite article will be used before FBI agent?

Since FBI is an acronym here. It sounds like a vowel ‘e’ in the beginning. Hence we use the article “An” before FBI agent.

An FBI agent

Rule-2

If the acronym starts with a consonant sound, we will use the article “A” before it.

Let us understand by taking an example.

Which indefinite article will be used before NATO member?

Since NATO is an acronym here. It sounds like a consonant ‘n’ in the beginning. Hence we use A before NATO member.

A NATO member

Which indefinite article will be used before GRE qualified candidate?

Since GRE is an acronym here. It sounds like a consonant ‘j’ in the beginning. Hence we use the article “A” before GRE qualified candidate.

A GRE qualified candidate

Which indefinite article will be used before CBI agent?

Since CBI is an acronym here. It sounds like a consonant ‘c’ in the beginning. Hence we use the article “A” before CBI agent.

A CBI agent

Which indefinite article will be used before BA degree?

Since BA is an acronym here. It sounds like a consonant ‘b’ in the beginning. Hence we use the article “A” before BA degree.

A BA degree

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