Writing Glitch #38

Today’s glitch:


You are on a hike alone deep in the woods. You come upon a clearing where a man in an immaculate tuxedo is standing alone.

The comma splice is no surprise (They’re everywhere — run for your lives! 🙂 ), but the article glitch is another matter. Unless the person who created the original writing prompt I’m using for this example thought the article a belonged with suit and chose to ignore immaculate before it, I have no idea what could have been the reasoning for not using an instead.

In case you didn’t lean this rule in elementary school (or if English isn’t your first language), here’s a reminder: use a after words that begin with a pronounced consonant and an with words that begin with a pronounced vowel. You don’t say an unicorn because the u is pronounced like the consonant y, but you do say an umbrella, because there the u is pronounced as a vowel. Immaculate begins with a vowel, so an is the correct indefinite article. (Now you see why I prefer to keep these explanations as jargon-free as possible?)



About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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