(And it isn't even Talk Like a PirateDay)
Image via Daily Gregg
(warning this post uses a bit of IPA)
I just finished up Unit 8, where we are introduced to the special "R" rules. Unit 8 is only concerned with the "ur/ir/er/ar" sound in relation to the beginning or ending of a straight stroke. For the rest of the Anniversary's method of expressing "R" I'll need to wait until Unit 20.
R is weird - In America, some people say it is a vowel, but that isn't quite right. R is a bully, specifically R doesn't like shwas (ə). To quote one of the phonics books that I used to teach my son to read: when R comes after an I, E or U it likes to squish it down so far that you can hardly hear it at all - all you can hear is "er"(ɚ) (note: "ar" is really "ɑ" plus "ɚ")
Like the graphic above states, this special method (reversing the circle) is unique to Anniversary, In simplified and later editions, they just write the R out. I don't have the simplified manual, so I don't know exactly how the rule is stated, and I'm not quite sure why they decided to change it. (Ok, I actually do have an idea: This special rule is one more thing to memorize, and [looking ahead to unit 20] it can probably be a bit difficult to write smoothly without a lot of drilling practice. And it may be a bit more difficult to read fluently.) But it is definitely something to keep in mind when reading old found shorthand notes, or when choosing a method to learn.
On a personal note I usually prefer the way the Anniversary reversed circle words look, but there are a handful of Simplified versions that I think look nicer. Maybe once I'm all done with Anniversary I'll get a Simplified manual and I'll blend the two versions for a more pleasing to my eye hybrid.
There are exceptions when it would be impossible or really hard to write quickly, like "air"
And since Gregg isn't really a wholly phonetic system, sometimes the rules are bent a bit to to make other words that don't quite fit that description easier/quicker to write.