Break These Rules!

Do what you can, right now, to break these rules:

  • Don’t start a sentence with and or but
  • Don’t begin a sentence with because.
  • Never end a sentence with a preposition. Write, “To whom do you speak?” not “Who are you speaking to?”
  • Never use less for words you can count. Use fewer.
  • Never split an infinitive, as in “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”
  • Don’t use which for restrictive clauses. Use that.
  • Don’t use than after the word different. You must write different from.
  • Don’t use between with three or more items, as in between you, me, and him.
  • Don’t use shall to signal a strong intention in the first person – use will. In the second and third person, do the opposite.

That rule about “shall” is so archaic, I can’t believe it still shows up in grammar guides.

I strongly encourage you to start squashing these little worms of classroom folklore that have wiggled their way into so many minds. They are not real rules, and no one who violates them is going to hell. So relax!

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