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