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Use of a/an with parentheticals?

This morning I was confronted with a grammar question for which I just don’t know the answer. Consider the phrase “an essential truth;” now put “essential” in parentheses. Is the indefinite article supposed to be “an” or “a” in that phrase?

I’m stumped; my advice was to remove the parentheses entirely, so the phrase remains “an essential truth” instead of one of “an (essential) truth” (which works out to “an truth”) or “a (essential) truth” (which scans terribly).

The real key here is to learn to avoid parentheticals more, of course; I use <aside/> on my blog fiercely to help myself not use parentheticals (with miserable failure rates, as you can see… whoops. Why am I not using <aside/>?)

So, fellow grammarians, I ask you: what’s the correct form, if the parenthetical is included?

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