Grammar rules

Traditions not rulesFun and informative article in the Guardian by Penny Modra and Max Olijnyk from Melbourne writing studio the Good Copy on Ten everyday grammar mistakes you might be making.

I especially enjoyed number two:

Mistaking ye olde conventions for rules

Beyond style decisions, most of the things people mistake for “rules” in grammar and punctuation are just conventions that crawled out of the swamp at some point and got a foothold, either in a school curriculum or as a recommendation in a 19th- or 20th-century grammar screed.

Don’t start a sentence with a conjunction? That’s never been a rule. True story. If anyone tries to start trouble with you about this, hand them the Chicago Manual of Modern Style:

There is a widespread belief – one with no historical or grammatical foundation – that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘so’.

And then finish them off with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage: “Everybody agrees that it’s all right to begin a sentence with ‘and’.”

What about ending a sentence with a preposition? Avoiding this has never been a rule, either. As Winston Churchill said: “This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.”


Read the full article: Wait... is that a rule? Ten everyday grammar mistakes you might be making