For the question currently titled "How to deploy an .ear file in glassfish?", is it "a .ear file" (a dot-ear file) or "an .ear file" (an ear file)? Because it certainly can't be "an dot-ear file".

  • 3
    As a non-native speaker I usually try to avoid such issues and simply use the plural: "deploy .ear files"
    – HBruijn
    Jul 6, 2023 at 14:13
  • Agreed - maybe for this title something like "How to deploy filename.ear in glass fish?" or "Problems deploying .ear files.", since titles aren't markdown. But it was also a grammar question I was curious of, perhaps the answer is simply phrase it differently.
    – Paul
    Jul 6, 2023 at 15:32
  • I find it jarring but not enough to be interested in editing it. I know what the OP means.
    – user9517
    Jul 7, 2023 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


In theory... (“A” or “An” with abbreviations? It depends. gives similar examples.)

If it is written as an .ear file then it is pronounced

  • "an ear file" [æn ir faɪl] or
  • "an E A R file" [æn i eɪ ɑr faɪl].

On the other hand a .ear file suggests the writer intented

  • "a dot-ear file" [eɪ dɑt ir faɪl] or
  • "a dot E A R file" [eɪ dɑt i eɪ ɑr faɪl].

However, this only applies to situations where one or the other has been used on purpose. Most native speakers probably don't do this consciously either, and not all users are native English speakers.

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