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Sunday, February 5, 2012

An Hilarious Grocer's Apostrophe

I usually don't grammar nazi much. I do try and get my books exactly right, even though I do a lot of the editing after I publish. Meh, it's a brave new world.

But I'm seeing too many misuses of the word "an". "An Historical Romance", I just read on an author site.

Writers, you should know better. The general rule, if you need a rule, is that "an" should be used when the H is silent. "An honest opinion". If the H is pronounced, you generally want to use "a" instead of "an".

This is compounded by the fact that some people use it in jest, or because it sounds more pretentious. Stop it. I'm guilty of the same sort of thing, at times. Passive voice just sounds so much more pretentious. I'm in a support group for that.

The apostrophe is important enough that Frank Zappa named an album after it. I'd like to see it taken away from non-writers. That poor piece of punctuation gets misused so often, it's sad. Normal people seem to think if the word ends in S, it gets an apostrophe before it. And this is an almost reflexive aspect of writing. I had to remove one from 'gets' only moments ago.

Now, I read "On Writing", and I'm pretty sure Steve King says to use apostrophe-S if someone's name ends in S. I didn't like the way it looked, but I tried it. Sometimes it's okay, with certain names. Then I read "Insomnia" again and looked for it. He doesn't use it, either...