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#31899 - 06/12/01 06:06 PM To use An or A
gmoore Offline

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 1
Hello to all, My question is, With the medical acronym (or should that be initialism) FSH (follicular stimulation hormone) should I say "She will have A (or AN) FSH level performed" Thanks, George

#31900 - 06/12/01 06:21 PM Re: To use An or A
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
I don't know the rule that might apply, but my natural tendency would be to say "An FSH level." But I welcome your giving me a chance to reveal my ignorance.

#31901 - 06/12/01 06:29 PM Re: To use An or A
nancyk Offline

Registered: 03/09/01
Posts: 508
Loc: Metro Detroit (MI)
Welcome aBoard, George! If you're pronouncing "eff ess aitch," I think an is the right choice before the vowel sound. It's a pet peeve of mine to see "a" written before an abbreviation that begins with a consonant but is routinely pronounced with an initial vowel sound. It should be an FSH deficiency, but a BP reading. The key is in the pronouncing.

#31902 - 06/12/01 06:29 PM Re: To use An or A
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
I think it depends on how it is pronounced: a f(i)sh or
an eff-ess-aich

#31903 - 06/12/01 06:40 PM Re: To use An or A
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
I would guess that the use of "an" came strictly through spoken English because it was too awkward to say "a apple". And in such situations "n" seems to be our letter of choice, as is shown in words like "tobacconist" as opposed to "tobacco-ist". Because of this tendency toward verbal ease, I would go with "an".

#31904 - 06/12/01 06:41 PM Re: To use An or A
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Daar tsuwm: I have never heard medical acronyms, or whatever the correct term is, pronounced as words. Of course, it is so long since I was in a hospital, the usage may well have changed. FSH would have been "eff- ess-aitch" and I doubt that it has changed.

P.S/ As shown below, things have indeed changed. But all of ones cited came after I retired. Still, I did know some of them, but didn't remember them. Time wounds all heels.

#31905 - 06/12/01 06:49 PM Re: To use An or A
Hyla Offline

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 544
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Dr. Bill, I dig to beffer: I assume that a CAT scan is not actually a cursory inspection of a feline, but is the medical profession's pronunciation of the abbreviated form of Computed Tomography (CT) imaging, or Computed Axial Tomography (CAT).

As to your other point: may you long remain out of hospitals!

#31906 - 06/12/01 11:11 PM Re: To use An or A
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
I agree with nancyk! And welcome to the Board, gmoore!

#31907 - 06/13/01 04:16 AM Re: To use An or A
rodward Offline

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 609
Loc: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
CAT scan is not actually a cursory inspection of a feline

A guy asks the vet to examine his dog which is just lying there. The vet says, "Look, I'm sorry but your dog is dead" "That can't be" says the owner, "I demand a second opinion". "Ok" says the vet and calls over his own Black Labrador and commands it to examine the dog. The Labrador sniffs all round and puts its paw on the paper with "DEAD" on it. "I demand a third opinion" says the owner. "OK" says the vet, and calls over this tabby, which in turn sniffs all over the dog and puts its paw on the paper with "DEAD" on it. "OK" says the owner. "I have to believe it. How much do I owe you?" "$250" says the vet. "How much? It's usually only 50 bucks even for big stuff". "Ah" says the vet "but Lab tests and Cat scans cost extra!"

Another one for the kids (I liked 7,8,9 by the way).


#31908 - 06/13/01 04:43 AM Don't get me started
doc_comfort Offline

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 618
Loc: Australia
More medical acronyms pronounced as words:

CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft) = cabbage
TED (thrombo-embolic disease)
ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme)

And probably most wide-spread:


I think I'll stop now.

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