Friday, May 09, 2008

A Eulogy from BawBaw

First of all, I've just stumped myself with a grammar question. We use "an" instead of "a" when it precedes a word starting with a vowel, right? So, I'd write, "Hal had to make an effort to answer that grammar question," or "Hal had to ask an uncle to answer that grammar question." But to my mind's ear, that doesn't sound right in the case of the word "eulogy." A eulogy sounds right; an eulogy sounds wrong. Is there anyone out there who's aware of some rule that covers this pairing of words, or is it just one of those maddening exceptions to English grammar rules? Or, have I just not had enough caffeine this morning?
*
I've belonged to a website called PearlSoup since 2001. For me and a bunch of other folks, it was sort of a predecessor to a blog. This morning, I read a eulogy posted by a member who calls herself BawBaw. The eulogy was written for one of her best friends, a woman BawBaw calls a "Warrior Goddess."
You should really read the post here, but I wanted to share a line that really struck me, because I thought it was one of the best encapsulations of a person's character I've ever read, touching and funny at once: No one but Ellen could utter the word "bitch" and have it resonate as "I love you."
We should all be remembered so fondly.

2 comments:

Annie said...

According to The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style, "The indefinite article a is used before words beginning with a consonant sound, including /y/ and /w/ sounds. The other form, an, is used before words beginning with a vowel sound. Hence, a European country, a Ouija board, a uniform, an FBI agent, an MBA degree, an SEC filing. Leave it to the ODAUS to make this MORE confusing.

What an incredible eulogy. What a wonderful life that Warrior Goddess lived. Thanks for sharing it.

Hal Johnson said...

Thanks Annie!