Change is the only constant, and grammar rules are just as vulnerable to alterations in the society as anything else. Read on to find out the 9 grammar rules that hidebound professors, and purists can no longer harass you with.
1. Splitting infinitives is no longer frowned upon
In 1864, Henry Alfred, the Dean of Canterbury, in his book, The Queen’s English, expressed his reluctance towards splitting infinitives. The people of those times were quickly bitten by the bug, and pretty soon teachers started teaching their students how they should never split infinitives. However, it was later realized that it was sometimes imperative and at other times convenient to bend the rule, in order to convey the idea properly. The result? Today, if you add an adverb between ‘to’ and a verb (eg, if you write “to boldly go… “, instead of “to go boldly”), you won’t be admonished.
2. You can end a sentence with a preposition
Not ending a sentence with a preposition for the fear of making one’s writing seem less elegant, became a rule in the 17th century. Authors and grammarians refrained from using phrases like, “the end he aimed at”, and went ahead with, “the end at which he aimed”. Today, however, placing a preposition at the end of the sentence has become widely common, and acceptable.
3. Using a double negative
There was a time when the use of double negatives almost always implied a positive. So, saying, “I haven’t got no time”, meant that you have loads of free time at your hands. However in recent times, with artists such as Eminem using the double negatives routinely, they (double negatives) have been used to add emphasis. So, pedantic grammar nerds will just have to bite the bullet, when they hear Eminem sing, “you used to say, that I’d never be nothing without you”.
4. Who or whom
The ‘who’ versus ‘whom’ debate has been on for far too long. Today, the only ones who’d badger you to use ‘whom’ over ‘who’ would be grammar fanatics. You can safely use a ‘who’ in all cases. But, if you’d still want to know when to use what, you can visit this page.
5. Starting a sentence with a conjunction
There was a time when starting a sentence with an “and” or a “but” would’ve raised quite a many eyebrows, but this generation has done away with this rule. You can use a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence without provoking the grammar lovers.
6. Pronoun-Subject Agreement is not always necessary
I think feminists have something to do with getting rid of rules which required a strict agreement of the subject with the pronoun. As a result, today, if you are faced with a situation where the gender of a person is unknown, then you can comfortably use ‘they’, and clear the confusion. An example would be, “Every author, worth their salt, would know how to create a flawless plot.”
7. Between and among
It was once a rule that between be used when there are two things under consideration, and among be used when there are many. Today, however, it is perfectly correct to use between when relationship is reciprocal, regardless of how many parties are involved (example, “agreement between the cricket teams”), and among is used in case of collective relationships (example, “..discussions among the teams”).
8. Oxford comma is not mandatory
There has been much hype about the relevance of the Oxford comma. There are people who’d jump inside the battle arena to defend it to their death. However, there is no rule that mandates its use, and the decision to use one is completely up to the writer.
9. Use of commas
Commas were once supposed to be used in four cases only: to separate elements in a series, to connect independent clauses, and to set off introductory and parenthetical elements. However, today it can be used to indicate a pause in the flow of a sentence, or an emphasis, thereby making the meaning of the sentence clearer.