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Re: [PATCH] more typo/wording fixes

From: Ed Price <ed.price_at_gmail.com>
Date: 2006-03-01 15:05:17 CET

One last attempt at this trivial fix (from my original patch):

Google "indefinite article abbreviation style"...

The first hit is the Chicago Manual of Style FAQ.

Executive summary: It says "an MD5" is correct. [1]

The second hit is a style manual from Rutgers, which agrees. [2]

Finally, as I said before, "an MD5" is used consistently EVERYWHERE
ELSE in Subversion. And it's not just Subversion; you can google "an
MD5" vs "a MD5" to see that the former is more popular in general.
You might also try "an MBA" vs "a MBA", "an MRI" vs "a MRI", etc.

OK?? Sheesh :)

[[[
 * subversion/libsvn_repos/dump.c
   (dump_node): Trivial comment wording fix.
]]]

Index: subversion/libsvn_repos/dump.c
===================================================================
--- subversion/libsvn_repos/dump.c (revision 18650)
+++ subversion/libsvn_repos/dump.c (working copy)
@@ -485,7 +485,7 @@
     }

   /* If we are supposed to dump text, write out a text length header
- here, and a MD5 checksum (if available). */
+ here, and an MD5 checksum (if available). */
   if (must_dump_text && (kind == svn_node_file))
     {
       unsigned char md5_digest[APR_MD5_DIGESTSIZE];

Thanks,
-Ed

PS Gory details:

[1] http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/cmosfaq/cmosfaq.Abbreviations.html

  Q: Dear Sir or Madam: My client prefers to use the article 'a'
 before an abbreviation such as LCMS. I suggest using 'an', since the
 letter 'L' is pronounced "ell". What does the Chicago Manual of
 Style recommend?

  A: When an abbreviation follows an indefinite article, the choice of
 'a' or 'an' is determined by the way the abbreviation would be read
 aloud, so in this case, we would use 'an'. Please see CMS 15.9 for
 more information and examples.

[...]

  Q: I am trying to find out when you write if you say "an MBA" or "a
 MBA." Here is the example I'm trying to figure out: He earned an MBA
 from Harvard Business School and a BS from the Wharton School,
 University of Pennsylvania.

  A. Write what you say. MBA is an initialism, pronounced "em be ayy"
 (or something like that). It begins, then, with a vowel sound: write
 "an MBA." On the other hand, write "a master of business
 administration degree." Initialisms and acronyms are generally
 intended to be read as such, whereas abbreviations (e.g., 5th St.,
 read "fifth street") are often meant to conjure the full form.

[2] http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/a.html

 Use 'an' in place of 'a' when it precedes a vowel sound, not just a
 vowel. That means it's "an honor" (the h is silent), but "a UFO"
 (because it's pronounced yoo eff oh). This confuses people most often
 with acronyms and other abbreviations: some people think it's wrong
 to use "an" in front of an abbreviation (like "MRI") because "an" can
 only go before vowels. Poppycock: the sound is what matters. It's "an
 MRI," assuming you pronounce it "em ar eye."

On 2/28/06, Ed Price <ed.price@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/28/06, Michael Sweet <mike@easysw.com> wrote:
> > Minor nit - "md5" stands for "Message Digest 5", so the correct
> > pronoun is "a", not "an".
>
> It doesn't matter what it stands for. "MD5" is pronounced starting
> with a vowel sound, thus "an" is correct.
>
> It's a little difficult to google for "a" and "an" :) but there's a
> good explanation at http://www.pnl.gov/ag/usage/confuse.html:
>
> -- cut here --
> a, an--Use a before any word or acronym beginning with a consonant
> sound. Use an before any word beginning with a vowel sound, regardless
> of whether the word begins with a vowel.
>
> a light-water reactor; an LWR; [...]
> -- cut here --
>
> Also note that "an MD5" is used everywhere else in the sources...
>
> Speaking of nits, I also feel that "MD5" should be capitalized; this
> is *not* consistent in the source tree currently. Would a patch to
> correct all "md5" to "MD5" be accepted? :)
>
> -Ed

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Received on Wed Mar 1 15:07:48 2006

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