Don’t you love all the rules we have for grammar? One thing you learn early on in elementary school is that for every rule, there is an exception–or two or three. All you have to do is say aloud these words that seem like they should be pronounced the same: cough, though, through, enough, trough, tough, and though. That just about sums up the silliness and inconsistencies of the English language.
With that said, here are a few “rules” that are no longer rules. Yes, you have permission to break them. Times have changed. If enough people ignore the rules, after a while they won’t be observed any more. Or something like that.
- Never split an infinitive. Meaning you are supposed to keep the “to” with the infinitive form of the verb. The famous example of rule-breaking is the line from the opening of the old Star Trek show: “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” The rule would require it to be rewritten to “to go [keeping the “to” with the verb] boldly.” But does it matter? No. So feel free to blatantly ignore [I just did right here–do you see?] the rule.
- Never end a sentence with a preposition. Go ahead. I mean, seriously–what rule book is this from? What’s it leading to? Isn’t this something we can just get through? See, there’s nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition. I always like the funny way of making this point: “A preposition is something you should never end a sentence with.” ‘Nuff said.
- Never begin a sentence with a conjunction. In case you don’t recall what those are, use FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. So feel free to use them to start a sentence. But don’t do it all the time. Or your writing will sound a bit choppy. Or not. So what?
Got any rules you like to break in your writing? I’ll bet you’re not the only one.