Contemporary essays, fiction, and opinion offered regularly by author Anne Brandt.

Question for the week
Is there anything wrong with the following phrase? "It cost less to reuse boxes than to buy new ones."
Rules of the Games
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Wendy asks...
About the use of "A" and "An" Which is correct to use in this example: Bob holds (a or an) M.A. in Management? Thought it would be a if you read out the degree when reading the sentence a Master of Arts in Management, is there a different rule before an abbreviation?
Anne answers...
While I cannot find any data to back me up, I believe you would say, "Bob holds an M.A. in Management" if you are using the initials. However, you would say, "Bob holds a Master of Arts in Management" if you were using the words. In thinking about this, I suspect we use an in front of the consonant letters F, L, M, N, R, S, and X (as well as in front of all vowels) when we are referring to them as individual letters for ease of speaking. Think of the television show, "Wheel of Fortune," where contestants say, "I'd like to buy a B" or "I'd like to buy an N."
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