A M.Sc. or An M.Sc. / A MRI or An MRI

nowall

Senior Member
Italia, Italiano
Hello:

I was wondering whether the sentence "he holds a M.Sc. (Master of Science) in [subject] from [university]" is grammatically correct or not.

In more generic terms: How can I effectively distinguish when I need to use an instead of a in such cases?

Many thanks for your attention!
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No, it should be an M.Sc.

    In general, abbreviations are read as the names of letters, so M.Sc. begins with a vowel. It's said [em es 'si:], not master of science. But in cases of doubt (usually where the abbreviation could be read as a single word) it may be necessary to google: I sometimes do with an unfamiliar term. For example, when I first came across the real estate term REIT, I had to google to see if most people wrote 'a REIT' (if it was pronounced as a word [ri:t]) or 'an REIT' (if it was read as letters [a:r i: ai 'ti:]).
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Hm, I get more for 'a M.Sc.' even when I restrict it to .ac.uk or .edu sites, which ought to be more reliable. The thing is, that unlike REIT, there is only one way of pronouncing 'M.Sc.', so if people say that at all, they must say 'an M.Sc.' - that includes all the people who write 'a M.Sc.' But perhaps some of them read it as full words 'a master of science'. I suspect they don't though; I suspect they do actually mostly say 'an M.Sc.' and have just been fooled by the letter M when they go to write it down.
     

    Phi

    Senior Member
    USA
    Arabic
    I do know that it is AN MD ( not A MD). Somewhere I saw "A MRI" and it looked to me strange because I think it should be " An MRI". Can you please help.
    MRI is a method of imaging. For instance for back pain.

    Thanks

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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Phi, it's the same rule as with "an MD". In each case, the letters are said one by one, and the first letter, M, is pronounced "em," (the same sound as in the word "them" but without the "th"). So they both take "an".
     
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