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, 2020 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


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..."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .