Grammar Rules that Are OK to Flout

English is more egalitarian and less hide bound than ever before. The rigidly strict and stuffily correct grammarian no longer holds sway the way they would have in earlier times. As English continues to evolve and more of the world’s population embraces it, its rules of grammar tend to become more accepting and less rigid. Here’s a humorous look at grammar rules you may choose to ignore.

Never start a sentence with a conjunction

This one is quite the bugbear with strict grammarians, but increasingly it is seen as acceptable to start a sentence with a conjunction such as ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘yet’, ‘so’, etc. In many cases, it can add emphasis and facilitate brevity. Particularly in conversational English, it is quite acceptable to start a sentence with a conjunction. For instance:

  • But this is not true
  • And would you accept it?

can be perfectly correct, but it is important not to overdo it.

Don’t end a sentence with a preposition

You can end a sentence with a preposition but there are instances in which ending the sentence with a preposition can sound clumsy; so watch out how you do this. The rule of thumb here is, use the preposition at the end of the sentence if it simplifies the sentence. However don’t use it if it seems superfluous. So, “Who are you going with?” can be as acceptable as “With whom are you going?”, but “Where are you at?” is distinctly clumsy and will sound better simply as “Where are you?”

Don’t use contractions

Yes the pun in intended, because contractions are no longer as abhorred as they used to be. Even in publications don’t, can’t, you’re, we’re, etc. are quite acceptable. Perhaps they may not be appropriate for very formal speech or writing.

Indent your paragraph

This rule is a bit of an anachronism and is more the exception than the rule. While some organizations still indent paragraphs, most people now indicate a paragraph break merely by double line spacing between two paragraphs.

Never use slang

There is so much informal communication today – text messages, emails, social networking – that it seems unreasonable to never use slang. As long as your slang is not obscure, objectionable or too colorful, it can be a good way to sound informal and conversational.

Don’t split the infinitive

Depending upon the sentence it is okay to split the infinitive in appropriate cases. For more details, please go through our article on split infinitive.

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