If you don't read the Boston Globe's grammar column, The Word, you're missing out on some great grammar-geek stuff. The always-excellent Jan Freeman recently wrote a piece entitled "Un-rules" that debunks 10 common language-usage myths. It should be required reading for every English teacher and student. I just love this excerpt:
Fake language rules can come from respected sources, but that’s no reason to believe them. As Kathryn Schulz explains in her new book, “Being Wrong,” people don’t know that they’re misinformed: Being wrong, after all, feels just like being right. But learning to write is hard enough without the burden of following non-rules. So let’s lighten the load a bit, starting with 10 usage topics that deserve a good leaving alone.Do read the whole column. In a nutshell, these are Freeman's 10 assertions:
- None are? None is? Both are correct.
- The girl that I marry. It's not necessary to say "whom I marry."
- Since you asked. It's not necessary to say "because."
- Healthy vs. healthful. It's okay to use "healthy" when describing non-living things.
- Till vs. 'til. "Till" was there first.
- Verbing nouns. We've been doing it for thousands of years, so let's get over it.
- "And" can start a sentence. So can "but" and "however."
- Misspelled is not misused. Spelling goofs aren't comprehension glitches.
- The adverb can be "wrong." It's okay to use non "-ly" words as adverbs.
- You only live once. It's okay to place "only" before a verb.
What's your take on these "un-rules"?
(Photo courtesy of Valeriana Solaris/Flickr Creative Commons)
Also by Jan Freeman: