Usage and Grammar

Q. Should the sound (i.e., pronunciation) of a parenthetically included word be factored in when deciding between a and an? “Patent holders may wish to consider a (preliminary) injunction” or “Patent holders may wish to consider an (preliminary) injunction.” Lots of Internet discussion on this one, but I can’t seem to find any definitive answer in style manuals or grammar books.

A. A definitive answer would be hard to find, but the reader can’t skip over the word in parentheses, and either choice is problematic. In most cases like this, there’s little to justify having parentheses in the first place. Removing them is the easiest solution.