Indefinite articles used with acronyms starting with U
February 12, 2010 9:40 AM Subscribe
Why do we precede acronyms starting with the letter U with 'a' instead of 'an', e.g. "a USB key" or "a UFO"? Acronyms starting with a consonant are frequently preceded by "an" because consonants' names have a different spelling than the letters themselves, e.g. M as em and H as aitch, therefore "an HIV outbreak" or "an MRI". However, U's name is spelled u, and acronyms that start with other vowels are preceded by 'an', e.g. "an ABC license".
What's the deal?
posted by BigSky to Writing & Language (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite