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The proper article to use in the sentence A/An NaI detector

  1. Dec 16, 2004 #1
    The proper article to use in the sentence "A/An NaI detector"

    I'm not sure if this is the best forum to put this in, but I'm curious, what is the proper article to use in a sentence such as
    "A/An NaI detector"?

    The source I found this from uses "An," probably because "NaI" is read letter by letter so that the "an" appropriate procedes a vowel sound. However, the first letter in NaI is not spelled with an vowel, so I'm confused.



    grn. 14.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2004 #2
    N, pronounce "Ehn" or something like that. It does start with a vowel sound
     
  4. Dec 16, 2004 #3

    Evo

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    It "sounds" correct to use "an", but I believe "a" is actually correct. I deal with a lot of acronyms in my job and in textbooks "a" is used with acronyms that start with a consonant that "sounds" like a vowel.

    Let me see if I can verfiy which is correct.
     
  5. Dec 16, 2004 #4
    pronounce it Sodium and avoid the confusion
    I don't know what an NaI detector is, I'm just guessing at Sodium
    It has to be "an" when the NaI is spoken as N A I, written I don't know, but spoken has to be Right?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2004
  6. Dec 16, 2004 #5
    I also keep hearing people on the History channel saying. "An historic occasion." That sounds wrong to me. Actually, according to what I learned in school it is wrong, but maybe something changed since then like Kingdoms I was taught Plantae and Animalia and that was all there was. what is it up to now? 5 Or I was taught wrong, like black holes, I was taught that if you wanted to see the end of the universe you could jump into a black hole and would see time speed up for the rest of the Universe as you neared the event horizon. I think this was simply a case of the teacher trying to go outside the text book and teach something she wasn't qualified for.
     
  7. Dec 16, 2004 #6
    to quote Sting "sending out AN SOS"
     
  8. Dec 16, 2004 #7

    Evo

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    Sting is correct!!!!

    Using articles with abbreviations and acronyms:
    One of the most often asked questions about grammar has to do with the choice of articles — a, an, the — to precede an abbreviation or acronym. Do we say an FBI agent or a FBI agent? Although "F" is obviously a consonant and we would precede any word that begins with "F" with "a," we precede FBI with "an" because the first sound we make when we say FBI is not an "f-sound," it is an "eff-sound." Thus we say we're going to a PTO meeting where an NCO will address us. We say we saw a UFO because, although the abbreviation begins with a 'U," we pronounce the "U" as if it were spelled "yoo." Whether we say an URL or a URL depends on whether we pronounce it as "earl" or as "u*r*l."


    http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/abbreviations.htm
     
  9. Dec 16, 2004 #8
    Sting was correct? Not tribdog. Noooo. He's a idiot, an jerk, a a-hole, an dummy, an bonehead.
     
  10. Dec 16, 2004 #9

    Astronuc

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    Either way is satisfactory - suit yourself.

    From a manufacturer of NaI detectors (Canberra):

    "The NAID is a NaI detector specially designed for use in the measurement of uranium enrichment . . . " -
    source: http://www.canberra.com/products/514.asp

    But from the Health Physics Society:

    "How is the minimum detection efficiency of an NaI detector used to detect gamma energies in the low range 60 keV to 300 keV calculated?"
    source: http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q533.html

    NaI = Sodium Iodide (often doped with thallium (Tl)). Interacts with radiation in which a pulse of visible light is produced (NaI is a scintillation crystal). Usually, the light, whose intensity is proportional to the energy of the radiation, is collected by a photomultiplier tube. The resulting electronic pulse which is processed in a multichannel analyzer. This is the basis of gamma-ray spectroscopy. :smile: Probably more than anyone wanted to know. :biggrin:
     
  11. Dec 16, 2004 #10
    woohoo, batting an thousand today
     
  12. Dec 16, 2004 #11

    Evo

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    Tribdog is correct!!!! :biggrin:

    (as if it wasn't already obvious) :approve:
     
  13. Dec 16, 2004 #12

    Moonbear

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    I would go with what Astronuc said. If you are reading it as Ehn Ay Aye, then put "an" in front. If you read it as "Sodium iodide," then stick "a" in front. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'd read it as sodium iodide, not as Ehn Ay Aye. The latter of those sounds strange to me when I see a chemical symbol.
     
  14. Dec 16, 2004 #13

    Les Sleeth

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    See if you can answer these issues (which I can't decide about for certain):

    My friends and I play pinochle, and when one team gets the bid and calls some suit trump, we can't decide if it is proper to say, for instance, spades are trump, or spades is trump. The confusion seems to be caused by the fact that spades is a single suit, but it is expressed in a plural form.

    How about, is it others' or other's point of view? I usually write others'.
     
  15. Dec 16, 2004 #14

    Moonbear

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    Hmm...I never thought about the suits being plural. I just thought about it as the 13 cards that have spades on them, so spades are plural. It almost sounds like we've shortened a longer phrase there, doesn't it? For example, we'll talk about "the 10 of spades," but that really makes little grammatical sense. Perhaps it originated from something like the number 10 of the cards containing spades. If the question bugs you too much while playing cards, just have another beer.

    Other's vs others' is easier. It depends on whether you are talking about one other's view or many others' views. If there are many, then it will be points of view, unless they are all sharing one brain (it might be more challenging if you're referring to Borg, for example).
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2004
  16. Dec 16, 2004 #15

    hypnagogue

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    God, this brings back bad memories of obsessive high school English teachers.

    My advice would be to circumvent the problem and say "The suit of spades is trump." If that's too long, just say "strump."

    That would definitely be others'. Other's would refer to the point of view of that one other guy over there.
     
  17. Dec 16, 2004 #16

    Les Sleeth

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    Lol. Hey, that's what started the problem to begin with. However, your answer didn't help much, I am more confused than ever! :cry:

    P.S.

    I noticed you didn't attempt the other's/others' question.
     
  18. Dec 16, 2004 #17
    going for 3 in a row
    the suit of spades is singular in cards
    the gravedigger's spades are plural

    other's point of view
     
  19. Dec 16, 2004 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    :rofl: All of these years I thought I had this right. I thought we would say a FBI agent since F is for Federal - an implied [hard] F sound. I have no idea how I came up with that one! :grumpy:

    So the NaI detector usage depends on if we say Na [enn a], or sodium.

    I finally [mostly] got who and whom straight from an old episode of the Twilight Zone: "Whom - objective case". It's funny that for all of the English that we're taught, this is what I remember.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2004
  20. Dec 16, 2004 #19
    That definitely sounds wrong and is wrong according to the website Evo linked.




    According to Google, "spades are trump" is more frequently used than "spades is trump," but it really doesn't matter how you say it. Just enjoy the card game :rofl:
     
  21. Dec 16, 2004 #20

    Moonbear

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    Well, if you want to be proper and picky, or properly picky even, you would NEVER say Eff Bee Aye, you would say Federal Bureau of Investigation any place the acronym was used. Acronyms are confusing.
     
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