Skip to main content

Canon vs. Cannon (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use canon vs. cannon with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

The difference between canon and cannon is irregularly slight. Both are nouns; both are pronounced the same; and both refrain from using an "s" at the end of the word. So it really does come down to whether the word has one "n" or two "n's" in the middle.

(Click here for more grammar rules for writers.)

So let's look at the difference between canon and cannon, along with examples of correct usage!

canon_vs_cannon_grammar_rules

Canon vs. Cannon

Canon is a noun that most commonly refers to an accepted principle or rule that is followed or an authoritative list of books or texts. It can also refer to a particular contrapuntal musical composition or member of the clergy.

Cannon is, on the other hand, is a noun that refers to a giant gun that is usually, though not always, mounted on wheels. Also, the plural form of cannon is cannon. At one point, the cannon was a common weapon, though it's now mostly used in ceremonies or as artifacts.

Make sense?

Let's go through a few examples:

Correct: In the Stars Wars universe, there is some debate about whether books and comics are part of the Star Wars canon.
Incorrect: In the Stars Wars universe, there is some debate about whether books and comics are part of the Star Wars cannon.

Correct: As the soldiers approached the castle, we fired a cannon to discourage them.
Incorrect: As the soldiers approached the castle, we fired a canon to discourage them.

Correct: It's accepted as canon that more than one cannon is still referred to as cannon.
Incorrect: It's accepted as cannon that more than one canon is still referred to as canon.

So if you ever find yourself trying to remember how many n's you need, just remember that it takes two n's for the big gun cannon and one n for the little rule or collection of books.

*****

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Blackmail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Blackmail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, one character blackmails another.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

30 Poetry Prompts From 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Get all 30 poetry prompts from the 15th annual November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge here. Actually, 35 prompts if you're counting Two-for-Tuesday prompts!

How to Stalk Publishing Professionals on Social Media in an Appropriate Way

How to Stalk Publishing Professionals on Social Media in an Appropriate Way

Many people are self-professed "stalkers" on social media, whether they're following life events of friends or celebrities. But writers can learn quite a bit on social media by stalking publishing professionals too, and this post covers the appropriate way to do so.

Vérant

Samantha Vérant: On Romance and Recipes

Author Samantha Vérant discusses how her writing process changed while writing her new contemporary romance novel, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 633

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a warm up poem.

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Do I Pitch Different to Agents vs. Editors?

Every so often writers ask if they should pitch different to agents vs. editors. This post answers that question and provides some extra help on how to successfully pitch both.

Urban Legend

Urban Legend

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, feature an urban legend in your story.

Grose, 12:6

Jessica Grose: On the Unsustainability of Parenting

Opinion writer and author Jessica Grose discusses the complicated subject of modern motherhood in her new nonfiction book, Screaming on the Inside.

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Elizabeth Shick: On Research Through Immersion

Award-winning novelist Elizabeth Shick discusses the complete rewrite she devoted to her debut novel, The Golden Land.