grammar correction chap 4.1 LFS 6.6

Mike Lynch mjlynch at mchsi.com
Thu Mar 11 04:12:42 PST 2010


stosss wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 6:28 AM, Mike Lynch <mjlynch at mchsi.com> wrote:
>   
>> stosss wrote:
>>     
>>> On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 9:32 PM, stosss <stosss at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>       
>>>> Paul Brians
>>>> Emeritus Professor of English
>>>> Washington State University
>>>>
>>>> If the word following begins with a vowel sound, the word you want is
>>>> “an”: “Have an apple, Adam.” If the word following begins with a
>>>> consonant, but begins with a vowel sound, you still need “an”: “An
>>>> X-ray will show whether there's a worm in it.” It is nonstandard and
>>>> often considered sloppy speech to utter an “uh” sound in such cases.
>>>>
>>>> The same rule applies to initialisms like “NGO” (for “non-governmental
>>>> organization”). Because the letter N is pronounced “en,” it’s “an NGO”
>>>> but when the phrase is spoken instead of the abbreviation, it’s “a
>>>> non-governmental organization.”
>>>>
>>>> When the following word definitely begins with a consonant sound, you
>>>> need “a”: “A snake told me apples enhance mental abilities.”
>>>>
>>>> Note that the letter Y can be either a vowel or a consonant. Although
>>>> it is sounded as a vowel in words like “pretty,” at the beginning of
>>>> words it is usually sounded as a consonant, as in “a yolk.”
>>>>
>>>> Words beginning with the letter U which start with a Y consonant sound
>>>> like “university” and “utensil” also take an “a”: “a university” and
>>>> “a utensil.” But when an initial U has a vowel sound, the word is
>>>> preceded by “an”: it’s “an umpire,” “an umbrella,” and “an
>>>> understanding.”
>>>>
>>>> As found at:
>>>>
>>>> http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/a.html
>>>>
>>>> also see:
>>>>
>>>> http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html#errors
>>>>
>>>> and
>>>>
>>>> http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/index.html
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>         
>>> The articles "a", "an" and "the" can be dropped when there is only one.
>>>
>>> "You are doing an su to root" implies there are more su to root
>>> commands. There is only one su, switch user or super user command.
>>>
>>> "You are doing the su to root" or "you are doing su to root", these
>>> are correct but "a su" and "an su" are incorrect.
>>>
>>>       
>> As I read it, the second paragraph above of Paul Brians supports the use
>> of "an" over "a" because "su"
>> is an initialism where the first sound is "es".
>>     
>
> "a" and "an" are general. "an apple" means any apple. "the apple"
> means one specific apple. Because there is only one su command the
> "an" does not work because of the context.
>   
But "apple" is word and "su" is an initialism.  Paul Brians' guide
states specific rules when it comes to initialisms.  Those rules are 
related to the "sound" of the first letter of the initialism
not the context in which it is used.




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