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"a" or "an" Options
palapaguy
Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 9:06:58 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/28/2013
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Location: Calabasas, California, United States
A news site reported today: "There is now an Detroit Police Department internal investigation into two different precincts getting into their own turf war as they converge on an east side neighborhood."

At first glance I thought this was an obvious error. But now I'm not so sure. Any thoughts?
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 11:34:17 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 8,230
Neurons: 44,019
palapaguy wrote:
A news site reported today: "There is now an Detroit Police Department internal investigation into two different precincts getting into their own turf war as they converge on an east side neighborhood."

At first glance I thought this was an obvious error. But now I'm not so sure. Any thoughts?


It should be "a Detroit Police Department..." because Detroit begins with a consonant.

You would use "an" only if you omitted those words and began with, "There is now an investigation..." since investigation begins with a vowel.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
PavOwl
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 2:49:01 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 11/13/2017
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Neurons: 78
"an" is for "internal investigation". Accept "Detroit Police Department" as adjective.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 3:01:19 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 27,131
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi palapaguy.

My guess is that the original text said "an internal investigation" and then the author edited it to add "Detroit Police Department" and forgot to remove the 'n'.

Editing errors of this sort are not uncommon . . .


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
shass
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 5:00:05 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/10/2017
Posts: 14
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Location: New Quay, Wales, United Kingdom
The Quick Answer

Use an before a word that starts with a vowel sound. If it does not start with a vowel sound, use a. For example:
A man
An elephant
But, look at this:
A house
An hour
The key word here is sound. It is not a question of whether the word starts with a vowel. It is a question of whether it starts with a vowel sound.

- Taken from Grammar Monster -
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