8 grammar rules that are made to be broken—occasionally

Done judiciously—that is, sparingly and for specific effect—the flouting of these standards can add spice to your text.

Here’s a difficult dichotomy: Sometimes grammatical errors make your writing better. And by “better,” I mean more powerful and compelling. The following rules are made to be broken:

1. Don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. But why not? And who’s to stop me? For I am inspired by the flow of these sentences. Yet editors continue to challenge them. To which I say, “Phooey.”

2. Never end with a preposition. There are so many exceptions to this rule that I hereby declare it an ex-rule. From “What did you step in?” to “This idea makes me throw up,” prepositions are perfectly appropriate at the end of a sentence. That said, don’t use them if they’re redundant. “Where are you at?” is just wrong, and even “where it’s at” would be perfectly correct as “where it is.”

3. Don’t split infinitives. Even before Star Trek urged us “to boldly go where no man has gone before,” Robert Burns “dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride.” John Donne, Benjamin Franklin, George Eliot and William Wordsworth were also fans of this “error.”

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