My Favorite Rules to Break


Grammar Edition:

In school we have these things hammered into us, only to be told later that as long as we write well and do it intentionally, we can be free to break the rules. What kind of education system is that? Deceptive, at the very least. As I do not approve of lying to youth in some sort of adults-only conspiracy; I break as many of these rules (purposefully) as often as I can. My rebellions may not always be successful, but at least I feel as though I’ve gotten some revenge. Here are my top three favorite grammar rules to break:

1–Avoid Parentheticals: If you’ve read even one of my posts you know that I use parentheticals all of the time. I just love the humorous/sarcastic/dry/explanatory purposes that they can serve, and many of my favorite authors seem to get away with using them as often as they like. Granted, I, at times, use them too often. I have come to terms with this deficiency, and for pieces I submit for a grade or for publication, I scale back. My own personal blog, on the other hand, is my land to do whatever-I-Like in, so I will use as many parentheticals as I desire. (Isn’t that right?)

2–No run-on sentences:Run-on sentences can be one of the most efficient tools of the writer.You will never convince me otherwise.

3–Never start a sentence with “and” or “but”:Bullshit. I very rarely swear online, but this rule makes me so angry. First of all, saying “never” with a regard to writing ought to be a tip-off, because writers will do whatever they like whenever they need to as long as it works. I remember in the seventh grade our teacher spent an entire day lecturing on the evils of beginning a sentence with “and” or “but” and I decided to show her all of the best-selling books I’d been reading recently which broke this (and many other rules) generously. She blinked her eyes, squinted, and then told me that I shouldn’t even think about breaking these rules until I “knew what I was doing, and was a famous author myself.” Again, I say bullshit. I knew a lot more of what I was doing at this time than she did–and unlike her I wasn’t too afraid to try new things. I know that I have loads (and loads and loads and loads and loads) of growing to do, but how am I going to grow when I am being frightened into following the same mold as everyone else with no room for experimentation or discovery? This is the same teacher who tried to convince me that “mercenary” had a hard “c”, when I knew that it did not.

What are your favorite grammatical rules to break?

Sincerely,

Emilie

P.S. Writing is one of those few things which has never intimidated me or made me feel insignificant or insufficient.

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5 thoughts on “My Favorite Rules to Break

  1. The rule I break the most would have to be the use of semi-colons and colons… By far. All through elementary, I was told to never use a colon (or semi-colon) unless stating lists. Yeah right. Those things are a work of art when it comes to sarcasm and intense wording.

    • They told you that? Elementary school/middle school English teachers are evil. I swear they teach us lies on purpose in the hopes that we will not become better writers than them.
      I happen to love semi-colons, colons as well. Oh, and dashes!

  2. Wait… she tried to get you to pronounce it ‘merkenary’!? FOR SERIOUS!? Yeesh.

    I’m pretty much the same as you – I have started many a sentence with And in my time.

    At work, I am always getting told not to put commas after Dear Sirs and Yours faithfully – WHAT. I’m sorry, but no in a complete opposition here, since when has no punctuation been suitable for letters written to Judges of High Courts.

    Sincerely,
    Grammar Nazi (in a good way, not in a merkenary way) ;o) hehe

    • Yes, she was, quite possibly, the worst teacher I have ever had. I am still rather miffed about that class, as you can tell.
      No comma after “yours faithfully”? I don’t buy it.

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