Break the Rules!

Three pieces of grammar advice you often hear are three don’ts:

  • Don’t begin a sentence with a conjunction.
  • Don’t split infinitives.
  • Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.

But how hard and fast are these rules? And do these so-called grammar experts know what they’re talking about? ☺

Writers, especially fiction writers, break rules for effect or clarity. I do, and I’m The Grammar Cop!

The argument for avoiding conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence is that it creates a fragment. Hello? We use fragments all the time for effect. As long as it’s done well, and it is clear, a fragment is legal.

And that was that. Finished. Over. She handed him the engagement ring then stomped away.

Ending a sentence with a preposition isn’t illegal, either. In fact, it often makes more sense.

That is behavior up which I will not put is awkward and distancing to the reader. That is behavior I won’t put up with works better.

Split infinitives should usually be avoided. Would this sentence have worked better as split infitives should be avoided usually? Not for me. That isn’t how most of us speak, and our writing should be in our voice. After all, we writers are telling a story.

Remember, make your language readable. Anything that pulls the reader into your story is acceptable; anything that jars the reader from your story is not. Happy writing!


2 thoughts on “Break the Rules!

  1. Great post Cheryl. I always wonder how bad i’m screwing up when i’m done typing a sentence and my grammar check high lights it as a sentence fragment….i leave it anyway lolol. I love breaking the rules 🙂

  2. Pingback: Guest Blogger: Following, and Breaking, the Rules | Tom Rizzo Blog

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