I wrote the following sentence in gmail:

Please provide us with s184 certificate and invoice.

The auto grammar check suggested I insert "an" as below:

Please provide us with an s184 certificate and invoice.

Is this correct? Do I use "an" and not "a" even though the noun "invoice" is not directly after the article? Or is it just an error in the program?

  • 1
    I think the software is assuming that you would pronounce the number of the certificate "ess one three four". Nov 12 '20 at 9:26

Grammatically speaking, yes - it sounds better with an article. There will be lots of "S184" certificates as it sounds like a standard certificate with a reference number and in this context, you are asking for one of them rather than a specific one, so the indefinite article is appropriate.

However, it is common to abbreviate language in business communications and I wouldn't have a problem with the sentence omitting the article, although if written that way I would prefer it to say "certificate S184":

Please provide us with certificate S184 and invoice.

If you wanted to make the sentence grammatical rather than instructional then you might consider saying "please can you provide us with..."

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