on a lighter note....a RN or an RN?

  1. I can't help but notice so many posters here say "an RN" instead of "a RN."

    For example:

    "When I went to school to become an RN it was much different than it is now."

    I personally would say, "When I went to school to become a RN it was much different..."

    I'm just being a grammar nazi, but isn't a RN correct vs. an RN?
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    I always write, "an RN" or "an LPN" as if I were saying it.

    If I were spelling out the words 'registered nurse' or 'licensed practical nurse' I would write, "a registered nurse" or "a licensed practical nurse." Again, I write things the way I'd say them in real life.
  4. by   minnymi
    If it were something that I KNEW to be incorrect then I wouldn't question it...such as: the difference between there, their, or they're. I would just know that people made a typo, didn't know the proper word to use, and move on.

    Since I've seen so MANY people say "an RN" i'm actually curious what's correct.

    Even if I were saying it out loud I would say, "I'm a RN."

    I just wondered if there is some exception to the typical "vowel rule" since it's an abbreviation or something?
  5. by   tara07733
    Quote from minnymi
    I can't help but notice so many posters here say "an RN" instead of "a RN."For example:"When I went to school to become an RN it was much different than it is now."I personally would say, "When I went to school to become a RN it was much different..."I'm just being a grammar nazi, but isn't a RN correct vs. an RN?
    Yeah, 'a' RN would be wrong. As the other poster stated, if you were saying 'registered nurse' you'd say 'a', not 'an'.
  6. by   minnymi
    so, i'm guessing it has to do with the sound rather than the actual letters.

    since it's pronounced "are en (RN)" it would be "an are en" ...??
  7. by   Stephalump
    I believe you choose according to the pronunciation.
    "An RN" because the spoken abbreviation starts with a vowel sound
    "A registered nurse" because the word registered starts with a consonant sound.

    Sort of like how you buy A used car, not an used car.
  8. by   CompleteUnknown
    Quote from minnymi
    If it were something that I KNEW to be incorrect then I wouldn't question it...such as: the difference between there, their, or they're. I would just know that people made a typo, didn't know the proper word to use, and move on.

    Since I've seen so MANY people say "an RN" i'm actually curious what's correct.

    Even if I were saying it out loud I would say, "I'm a RN."

    I just wondered if there is some exception to the typical "vowel rule" since it's an abbreviation or something?
    I always say 'an RN' and write 'an RN' but say and write 'a registered nurse'. To me, the 'vowel rule' refers to the sound of the word (ahhh which is a vowel sound), not to the spelling of the word. I do the same with the sound 'esss' - for example, I say 'an SMS' not 'a SMS'. I've always thought that was correct but it'd be interesting to know for sure!
  9. by   Stephalump
  10. by   minnymi
    interesting.

    so, i guess both would be technically correct depending on how you "think out loud."

    when i abbreviate "RN" i'm thinking as i'm writing "registered nurse."

    i knew the rule about words such as "hour" being "an hour," but for some reason this one got me hung up.

    you learn something new every day!
  11. by   amoLucia
    I say 'an M & M candy, too. Go figure. But I do say 'a PB&J sandwich.
    Last edit by amoLucia on Jun 23, '12 : Reason: addition
  12. by   Stephalump
    Quote from minnymi
    interesting.

    so, i guess both would be technically correct depending on how you "think out loud."

    when i abbreviate "RN" i'm thinking as i'm writing "registered nurse."

    i knew the rule about words such as "hour" being "an hour," but for some reason this one got me hung up.

    you learn something new every day!
    Eh, no, I think you're supposed to stick with what you're literally writing. If you read further down, there's an example about the abbreviation NBC.

    You are AN NBC broadcaster or A National Broadcasting Company broadcaster.
  13. by   minnymi
    Quote from amoLucia
    I say 'an M & M candy, too. Go figure. But I do say 'a PB&J sandwich.
    that would make sense since (as the rap star has assured us all) the candy is pronounced "eminem."

    i just never thought of RN being pronounced "are en" and when i'm typing I always think of it as just an abbreviation of what i'm thinking which is "registered nurse."
  14. by   Stephalump
    Quote from minnymi

    that would make sense since (as the rap star has assured us all) the candy is pronounced "eminem."

    i just never thought of RN being pronounced "are en" and when i'm typing I always think of it as just an abbreviation of what i'm thinking which is "registered nurse."
    I think this rule is made solely for fluidity when speaking. When in doubt, say it out loud. "A RN"doesn't flow as easily as "an RN."

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