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Use of articles in front of acronyms

Posted by Peter Taylor on August 12, 2004

This crops up quite frequently in the course of drafting reports, when acronyms are commonly used. When referring to (say) a Site of Special Scientific Interest, universally shortened in the local government world to 'SSSI', is it correct to refer to 'a SSSI', which if being spoken, would seem awkward and quite possibly incorrect; or 'an SSSI', which sounds much better, but if the full phrase is used instead of the acronym, is obviously wrong - i.e. 'an Site of.....'.

Thanks in anticipation!