8 Grammar Rules That Are Worth Breaking
We all grow accustomed to the rules that are relentlessly drilled in our heads during grade school: Don’t run in the halls, raise your hand before speaking, and treat others like you want to be treated. Many of the rules we learn are carried over into our adult lives, especially when it comes to grammar rules — it often feels like there’s no running away from those.
After all, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having someone point out your grammar mistakes, especially when you want others to take you seriously! Life gets much more complicated if you can’t effectively communicate your thoughts and feelings.
But rather than fretting over every small detail, it’s important to remember that some grammar rules aren’t worth sticking to. Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. The best blog content writing services break a rule here and another rule there, all for the sake of improving content and making it more pleasant to read. As it turns out, the best writing isn’t always grammatically correct, and professional content writing services know when to break classic copyediting rules.
With that in mind, here are writing tips about the 8 grammar rules that are worth breaking:
1. Never Start a Sentence with “And” or “But”
This rule is one of the first lessons we learn when we start paragraph writing in elementary school. However, it’s an overly strict rule that’s virtually non-existent in the modern world, especially when professional writers are concerned.
Authors and bloggers who write in a unique and conversational tone are the main culprits often caught throwing out this rule. In fact, you’ll find this rule broken in some of the best writings in print and online.
So if you’re writing and you think it sounds more fluid if you begin a sentence with an “and” or “but,” go with it! The same goes for conjunctions like “because” and “or.” Just don’t overdo it.
2. Never Put Prepositions at the End of Sentences
Depending on the context, you could win a slap on the wrist if you end a sentence with a preposition like “from” or “in.” But a lot of people find this rule to be annoying and outdated.
When was the last time you heard “From where did you come” in actual speech? Or worse, the technically more correct “From whence did you come?”
You only hear, “Where did you come from?” But this feels more natural and less distracting, so don’t feel bad about breaking this rule.
3. Don’t Use Contractions
The above heading disregards this rule, as does most modern English text. We typically only abide by this rule when we want to stress a specific word, like when we’re upset (“Do NOT touch that!”). But when speaking and writing normally, contractions make for more natural text.
However, keep in mind the context you’re writing in. If you’re writing for a scientific journal or formal publication, you might err on the side of caution and avoid contractions.
4. Avoid Using Slang
This rule is great if you’re writing for a corporate or formal audience. However, if your audience is informal, you can effectively implement everyday slang without risking someone misconstruing your message. You just have to be mindful of who you’re writing the content for.
5. Don’t Split Infinitives
This rule is another one that’s fallen by the wayside in recent years. Of course, many grammar enthusiasts still turn up their noses at the mere thought of Star Trek’s opening monologue and its “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” However, it’s now recognized as perfectly acceptable to insert a word between “to” and the verb in many cases.
The reason writers break this rule is simply that it often just sounds better. So if you ever split an infinitive and grimace in hesitation when that squiggly line appears, telling you to reorder the words, consider going with your gut on this one.
6. All Paragraphs Should Have More than One Sentence
Three to five sentences — no more, no less. That’s what many of us learned in school.
However, using one-sentence paragraphs can make your writing more eye-catching and easier to read.
This strategy is especially useful for persuasive copywriting, where you want a paragraph to deliver a quick punch. It also makes online content skimmable for readers. So while you might hear your English teacher’s words echoing in your head, tempting you to combine a short paragraph with another, think about leaving it as it is.
7. Use “Who” and “Whom” Properly
Ask grammar enthusiasts what error they see the most, and many will say the misuse of “who” and “whom.” The problem is that most people don’t use the word “whom” in their everyday speech, either because they see it as too formal or because they simply don’t know the difference.
Thankfully, outside of formal writing, it usually comes across as unnecessarily stuffy if you use the word “whom.” As a result, it’s become widely accepted to use “who” in most contexts without fearing backlash from readers.
8. Avoid Incomplete Sentences
Everyone knows you need a subject and a verb to make a complete sentence, and you should avoid anything less. However, you can add a bit of drama and emphasis to your text by including incomplete sentences. Seriously!
This technique is common among copywriters who want to spice up their writing with impactful fragments. But don’t do this too often, or you’ll come across as an amateur.
Not Confident Enough to Break the Grammar Rules?
If you can’t bring yourself to break the grammar rules you had drilled into your head as a student, we can help. Our professional content writing services can battle the grammar rules for you! Browse our content marketing packages, and contact us at Write Collective today to get started.