Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Letter A

When you refer to something that is labeled with letters, like letter A, button B, formula C, or exhibit D, you don’t put articles, but that seems odd. Why wouldn’t you say “a button B” or “a formula C”?

  • November 16, 2002
  • Posted by Dyske
  • Filed in Grammar
  • 4 comments

Submit Your Comment

or fill in the name and email fields below:

Comments

When you use 'a', it gives the pretense that you're hypothetically talking about any letter A, B, or c. If you are directly referring to the button SUBMIT below, you don't use 'a'.

Then, when you have a whole slew of options, then saying "the" before every item is tedious, so can you just omit it and directly say "letter A" instead of "the letter A."

Tim3 Nov-18-2002

0 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

You say 'press button B' because there is only one button B amongst other buttons that are of other letters.

If all the buttons are button 'B's, then you'd say 'press a button' and not 'press a button B' since 'B' would become redundant.

BUT, if there are a few button 'B's as well as a couple of 'A's and 'C's, then you can say 'press a button B', better still, 'press any button B.'

biks Nov-21-2002

0 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

Well, in this case, "A" is the item's name. So rather than calling it a knife or a gun, we call it "exhibit A". Sort of a pseudonym. So since A is its name, you call it A instead of "an A". Just like you would say "Look, there is Dyske over there" instead of saying "Look, there is a Dyske over there."

purpledragon_13 Nov-23-2002

0 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

OK, it's exactly the same problem as whether you refer to "my son John" or "my son, John." In the first case you imply that you have more than one son (and this one is named John), and in the second, that you have one son (and his name is John). Here's an example from the AutoCAD drawing I'm working on at the moment

"Enlarge elastomer subassembly view B on the drawing" implies that there is more than one subassembly, but the one the reader should enlarge is a particular subassembly designated "B."

"Enlarge the elastomer subassembly, view B on the drawing" means that somewhere on the drawing there is a view (one picture) of the elastomer subassembly, and the view is differentiated from views of other subassemblies by being given the letter "B."

speedwell2 Apr-12-2004

0 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

Do you have a question? Submit your question here