Grammar Guru Part 10: Grammar Rules You’re Allowed to Break
As any good writer knows, English grammar is full of rules, as well as exceptions to those rules. The trick is knowing when a rule applies and when its exception comes into play. Standards tend to evolve over time, with many becoming more fluid and less ironclad. While some rules haven’t been completely shelved, there are acceptable instances when they can be broken.
Never End a Sentence with a Preposition
Like many other aspects of Latin, this rule made its way into the English language. Though it’s still a controversial subject–and perhaps best avoided in more formal writing or if you’re trying to impress a new client–you can end sentences with a preposition if it happens naturally. The first sentence sounds stiff and isn’t the way most people communicate these days.
In which kind of predicament did you find yourself?
What kind of predicament did you find yourself in?
The sentence above sounds more natural even though it ends in a preposition.
Do Not Begin Sentences with a Conjunction
Even though many professors of the English language frown upon starting a sentence with a conjunction, this grammar rule is loosening as well. However, beginning too many of your sentences with a conjunction can be redundant and wordy. In fact, some clients will peg these sentences as being full of fluff. Therefore, it is best to limit using conjunctions as the first word of a sentence to only a few instances.
**The paragraph above demonstrates the effects of using too many conjunctions to start off your sentences. However, the judicious application of these linking words can help your writing flow from one idea to the next.
About the author
While Katie S has always loved to write, she dabbled in a number of career fields before deciding to try her hand at the art on a professional basis. She has been writing for many years, either for academic reasons or for her own pleasure. She has been a freelance writer, concentrating on crafting concise, interesting and exciting copy for a variety of clients in many different industries, including the fields of law, medicine, sports and more.