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I wonder are the sentences below grammatically correct if we omit the articles?

RPG stands for (a) ''role-playing game''

RPG, also known as (a) ''rocket-propelled grenade''

3 Answers 3

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If you are giving the long version of an abbreviation, there should be no article before it:

RPG stands for "role playing game".

"A/an" refers to an actual thing, not the name or definition. So if you say, "RPG stands for a role-playing game", I will think, "Which role playing game does RPG stand for?"

Your second example sentence is not an explanation of the letters in the abbreviation, but explaining what an RPG is, so you should include an article before both:

An RPG, that's to say, a rocket propelled grenade...

(BTW, I replaced "also known as" from your second example sentence because that phrase introduces an alternate way of saying something, like an abbreviation or nickname, never the full, normal name. A rocket-propelled grenade is also known as an RPG, not the other way around. On the other hand, the phrase, "that's to say" usually introduces an easier term to understand, or a more standard way to say something.)

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AME speaker, I would omit the "a" in both cases, they sound very jarring to me as-is.

You would not expect an "A" before "Role Playing Games" in the following example. And I see no reason to have them in your exemplars either.

Role Playing Games developed a dedicated following in the 70s and 80s.
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  • "Do you want to play a role playing game?"
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 6:42
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RPG stands for (a) "role-playing game."

RPG, also known as (a) "rocket-propelled grenade."

Those sentences are wrong. The article "a" is not needed.

RPG stands for "role-playing game."

RPG, also known as "rocket-propelled grenade."

Those sentences are correct.

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