A/an: SAP (acronym)

danielenglish

Banned
"India - Hindi & English"
Hi teachers,

I have been confused for a long time about usage of "an" infront of acronyms.

Actually I could not get the point clearly as I have seen the of usage "an " differs in many places particularly with acronyms.

For example :

I am a SAP consultant

I am an SAP consultant

which is correct one to use in the above.

Is there any rule to use "an" in front of acronyms.

I would appreciate your help

Thanks in advance
Daniel
( I like english)
 
  • Transatlantic

    Member
    srpskohrvatski; English
    I use the abbreviations "L1" and "L2" in my writing very often. Here, you can go both ways. Is it a L1 speaker or an L1 speaker? It really depends on whether you pronounce L1 as "el one" or "first-language". In the former case, it's an; in the latter, a.

    I believe herein lieth our answer :)

    SAP seems to be a true acronym, i.e. it's pronounced "ess ay pee" (right?). In this case, I'd be tempted to use an.

    However, if it were an initialism (i.e. pronounced like a normal word, that is "sap"), then you'd clearly use a.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Translantic has given you the rule of thumb, Danielenglish. If, in saying it, it begins with a vowel sound, you would use "an". If, in saying it, it begins with a consonant, you would use "a".
     

    danielenglish

    Banned
    "India - Hindi & English"
    Hi teachers,

    I got the point now .Thanks for your more clear explanation.

    Thanks in advance
    Daniel
    (I like english)
     

    Mousedeerman

    New Member
    English - Malaysia
    <Added to this thread. Nat, Moderator>
    My sentence is like "One group of people made <insert word> SAP out of..." where SAP is superabsorbent polymer. When superabsorbent polymer gets written as "SAP", it sounds like it is pronounced as "as-ae-pee" (when people say it). That makes the term sound like its first letter is a vowel (I know it's not). Should I write the sentence as "...people made an SAP out of..." or "...people made a SAP out of..."?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    It depends on how common the acronym is. If you think that your audience knows the acronym and uses it in their everyday speech, the agree with the vowel sound. If, on the other hand, they're not that familiar with your acronym and are probably mentally filling in the full term, then agree with that.
    In either case, you will likely meet some who expects the other case. So get familiar with both.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    If you are actually speaking to your audience, then it depends solely on how you pronounce it there and then.
    If you pronounce it "sap", then use "a", because "sap" begins with a consonant sound.
    If you pronounce it by spelling out the individual letters, use "an", because "ess" starts with a vowel sound.

    If you're writing it, then use whichever version of the article is appropriate to how you would normally pronounce it. Your pronunciation should probably be guided by convention, if there is one and you are aware of it. This then informs your readers what, in your opinion, the conventional pronunciation is, and invites them to follow it.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Sometimes you need to google for "a SAP" and "an SAP" and see if one is much more common than the other, for your meaning of SAP.
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    SAP seems to be a true acronym, i.e. it's pronounced "ess ay pee" [...]

    However, if it were an initialism (i.e. pronounced like a normal word, that is "sap") ...
    I'd say that SAP would be a true acronym if it were pronounced /sæp/.


    Acronym is a fairly recent word, dating from the 1940s, although acronyms existed long before we gave them that name. The term was preceded in English by the word initialism, meaning an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of a phrase, and which has been in use since the late 19th century.

    Some people feel strongly that acronym should only be used for terms like NATO, which is pronounced as a single word, and that initialism should be used if the individual letters are all pronounced distinctly, as with FBI. Our research shows that acronym is commonly used to refer to both types of abbreviations
    .

    Definition of ACRONYM
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    If you are actually speaking to your audience, then it depends solely on how you pronounce it there and then.
    If you pronounce it "sap", then use "a", because "sap" begins with a consonant sound.
    If you pronounce it by spelling out the individual letters, use "an", because "ess" starts with a vowel sound.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
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