Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 5 TEST - Yay, another quiz! Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. Hollywood discovered it's Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.
B. Hollywood discovered its Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.
#2A. It's unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.
B. Its unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.
#3A. Our’s would be a whirlwind romance like no other.
B. Ours would be a whirlwind romance like no other.
If you chose B for #1, A for #2, and B for #3, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.

Week 6, Lesson 6, is going to be an easy one: a vs. an. Okay, we all remember learning that you should use a if the next word starts with a consonant and an if it start with a vowel. For example: a Florida Gators fan; an Auburn Tigers fan. (F in Florida=consonant; A in Auburn=vowel) Sounds perfectly logical, right?
Of course there's a trick. What they forgot to tell us (or, more likely, I may have been off-task that day) is that it's not just a vowel you have to look out for, it's the vowel sound, which gets especially tricky when you're talking about abbreviations or acronyms.
  • Even though "u" is a vowel, it makes a consonant sound, therefore a goes before it. A UF student; A University of Florida student.
  • Even though "h" is a consonant, sometimes it makes a vowel sound and gets an and other times it makes a consonant sound and gets a. An honor; A house.
  • For abbreviations, you have to think of what the sound is rather than what the letter stands for. So "f" makes a consonant sound when it starts a word, but a vowel sound when it starts an abbreviation. (Same with h, l, m, n, r, s, x.) An FSU fan; A Florida State University fan; An LSU fan; A Louisiana State University fan.
  • For acronyms (abbreviations that are spoken like words), you treat it the same as you would the word. A FEDEX employee.
  • Of course there's a screwy one. Ya know how sometimes people say "istoric" instead of "historic"? If you're one of those people, you should use an. However, even though there's a lot of leniency from the Grammar Police on this issue, a is preferred in formal writing.
Have an awesome day and a fabulous week! Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

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