tip#30 - How important are grammar rules? Are there any we can break?

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Grammar rules are important in any language. They exist to keep us from making fools of ourselves in both our written and oral communications. However, many of them can (and often should) be broken. As it is sometimes so difficult to teach learners grammar rules, I initially hesitated in bringing up the possibility of breaking any of them. However, there really are times where, for the sake of sounding better, it is important to tweak some of the rules. HOWEVER, the important thing for ESL /EFL learners (or any language learner for that matter) is that we need to know the rules before we can take the liberty of breaking them. The following are a few good examples put forth by Michelle Pierce, editor-in-chief for Aqua Vita Creative.

Ending a sentence with a preposition
‘In the interest of clarity and readability, it’s quite all right to end a sentence with a preposition.’(Pierce)
Beginning a sentence with “and” or “but”
‘It’s perfectly all right to start your sentences with “and” or “but.” It’s a great way to grab attention and emphasize a point. But, as in all things, take it in moderation.’(Pierce)
Splitting infinitives
‘How often have you heard that you’re not allowed to let another word come between “to” and its verb?…Come on: “to go boldly where no man has gone before” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “to boldly go.” If it sounds better to split the infinitive, then take an axe to it!’

*To read in more detail what Michelle Pierce has written on this subject, go to… “grammar-rules-to-break ”

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