OK, I admit it: Sometimes I break the rules—grammar rules, that is.
You may find this hard to believe (coming from a self-proclaimed grammar guru), but, in some cases, I think that disobeying certain rules results in better copy.
Here are some common grammar regulations and my thoughts on when it’s acceptable to defy them:
Always use complete sentences.
Pshaw. In my writing, I’ll sometimes use sentence fragments, because I believe they add emphasis:
My dog enjoys naps, walks, and treats. Lots and lots of treats.
No, the latter sentence is not grammatically correct, but it certainly lets the reader know how much my dog likes treats, doesn’t it?
Never begin a sentence with a conjunction.
And why not? I find that beginning a sentence with and, but, as, or because lends a tone of informality to my copy—something I strive for when writing for a young adult audience, for instance:
In our program, you’ll work harder than you ever have in school. But you’ll have a blast doing it.
Never end a sentence with a preposition.
Where did you pick that up from? At times, ending a sentence with a preposition (e.g., by, for, on) is much less awkward than the alternative. For example:
Where are you from? sounds much more natural than From where (whence?) are you? (unless, of course, you’re at a Renaissance Fair).
What are some grammar rules that you’ve been known to break?