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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Some Tips for Dealing with Grammar Myths | Mignon Fogarty, Grammarly

This short article, by the author of the "Grammar Girl" books and column, begins this way:
English can be troublesome.

It’s not wrong to split infinitives.
It’s not wrong to end a sentence with a preposition.
It’s not wrong to use “that” to refer to a person (e.g., the man that bought my car).
It’s not wrong to treat “data” as singular.
Fogarty notes that "language experts say such things are fine." But she warns that many people may think they're wrong because that's what they learned in school (misinformed or not), or they don't accept that language rules change over time.

So Fogarty advises that writers use caution in breaking those so-called rules (or myths). Go ahead and do it if you must, but do so when it's "safest" to do so. I assume that means when writers believe their targeted readers won't notice or care about the supposed error.

For more advice on this topic, see Garbl's Myths and Superstitions of Writing.
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This article is featured in today's (July 21) Garbl's Style: Write Choices -- available at the Editorial Style tab above and by free email subscription.

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