Andrew Wicks

About Andrew Wicks

Andrew Wicks is a country boy with a penchant for movies and sport. After a few years working in health, he decided he'd rather work with today's youth and studied arts and education in rural NSW. His main interests are religion, health and lairy shirts.

Three rules of grammar you can break (if you dare)

The rules of grammar are rules for a reason. They shall not be broken, lest the breakee suffer endless harassment from Nazi types. You know what? Screw that. 



Grammar, especially to those who don’t care for it, is a load of shit. A rusted-on set of archaic rules manufactured by long-dead pedants who were quick to correct, but slow to admit fault. As someone who writes as a rope to their existence, it’s really hot when someone pops a middle finger to the marble rules of yore, setting alight the ancient tomes of grammatical stuffery. Oof. Is it hot in here? Do you want to maybe get a drink or something?


Nevertheless, there are rules of grammar you can break while maintaining the diamond veneer of someone who can speak proper and stuff. Let me explain.

1. Never begin a sentence with “And” or “But”

Nah, you should. Especially if it gets your goolies. Great writers do it, and if F. Scott Fitzgerald bought you grain alcohol whatever and said “But, I’m going to have to ask you to jump in the Seine for lols”, you’d do it, right?

There is a caveat, though, in that the vibe matters. An “And” or a “But” (or a “For” or an “Or” or a “However” or a “Because,”) is not always the strongest genesis of a sentence, and while you can, and please do so if you like, your “And” or “But” may flow better with the usual comma or semicolon. And it’s about the vibe. But you’ll feel it when you attempt to jam it in there.

2. Never split an infinitive

Think of that Star Trek line: “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

A split infinitive is “to ” construction with an adverb stuck in the middle of it. To unsplit Star Trek, it would read “Boldly to go where no man has gone before” or “To go boldly where no man has gone before.”

If you don’t care for a spaceship that exists solely for the purpose of getting the Captain’s end wet, let’s knock on the door of one Raymond Chandler. That crime mope sent this note to the editor of The Atlantic Monthly in response to the copyediting of an article he’d written:

By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.

3. Never end a sentence with a preposition

Lies! And yes, ending a sentence with a preposition (as, at, by, for, from, of, etc.) is the wordy equivalent of sleeping with your cousin. It’s looked down upon, but you could make the argument that people dislike what they don’t understand. It could work for some people, the rare breed, those bold and ruinous enough. Besides, it’s your sentence/book/post/epitaph.

Why not do those things for?

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