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Thread: An s or a s

  1. #1
    Fred Volz

    An s or a s

    Hello folks,

    Here's one for you all to chew on. I frequently ignore writing rules when they seem wrong to me, such as fragmented sentences that I think sound better sometimes,ignoring the word "whom" in favor of "who",etc. This one is kind of interesting. I know the rule is to use "a" before a consonant and "an" before a vowell,but what about when the consonant sounds like a vowell? It seems awkward to say , " I knew a man who was a sda." because the letter "s" actually is pronounced "ess". (puncuation outside of quote marks when the marks represent italics is another place I feel we got it wrong) It sounds far more natural so say,"I knew a man who was an sda." I suppose it's because I like to speak through writing rather than write through writing. How big of a mistake is this?
    Drop the gloves and sticks, nobody is going to the penalty box.

  2. #2
    Tracy Johnson

    Re: An s or a s

    Personally, I think "I knew a man who was a soda jerk" sounds much better than, "I knew a man who was an soda jerk."

    But, that's just me....

  3. #3
    Jack Hinks

    Re: An s or a s

    Fred --

    Always go with the sound on this one. Your "...an SDA..." is correct.

    -- JH

  4. #4
    Tracy Johnson

    Re: An s or a s

    Oops, think I misunderstood ... sorry! "An SDA does sound a hell of a lot better that "a SDA."

  5. #5
    M T


    I've come across this kind of thing once or twice and wondered about it too. I agree with writing for the way it sounds rather than according to "rules". After all, most readers (IMO) don't really care about rules so much as the way a sentence sounds to their own ears. I'm not saying that writers should abandon all rules in order to serve those who don't want or know how to follow them, but a happy medium is good I think. I have a question though....

    -- what should a person do when typing out a query? I used to add 'included is an SASE'. To me it sounds better than 'included is a SASE'. But then I thought, maybe I'm writing it incorrectly, and an agent is going to be more critical than a reader, so I've dropped that (afterall unnecessary) sentence since the agent will obviously be able to see for themselves that I've included the SASE, but I'm still curious. What would be the right thing to do here?

  6. #6
    Mike Fulton

    Rulz rool

    You rite. Whomever said tha rulz s/b followed anyways?

    My flosofy is lern tha rulz an wen detention class is over 4get em.

    Done me good. thats 4 sure.

  7. #7

    Re: Rulz rool

    Mike -- LOL. I used an before historical, too. That's the way I was taught in second grade, and I can't shake the memories of Mrs. Ward, the harridan of PS 41. Lois

  8. #8
    Fred Volz

    Re: Rulz rool

    I believe your SASE is tougher, in that it's possible that someone who reads SASE will actually be thinking about the words instead of the letters that represent them. "S-D-A" is a common way to address a Seventh-day Adventist, but nobody I know has ever said audibly send me an s-a-s-e.
    Just a thought.

  9. #9
    Lindi Hobbs

    Re: Rulz rool

    MT -- I've never been comfortable with "an historical." Just doesn't sound right.

  10. #10
    Bob Kellogg

    Re: Rulz rool

    Academic-pretentious: an historical fact.

    Wannabe-pretentious: To whomever wants it.

    Okay: To whom it may concern.

    Concerned about editorial correctness: Marcy hated Jennifer, to whom everything came easy.

    Confused: Whomever said it was wrong.

    Correct: Enclosed you'll find an SASE.
    Correct: Enclosed you'll find a self-addressed envelope.

    I could go on and on.

    Bob K.

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