Monday, September 7, 2015

Breaking The Rules

Happy Labor Day, Americans! If my telepathic powers are working as they should, you're waking up late, planning (or attending) a barbecue later on today, and putting away your white trousers. Am I right?

Or, are you bucking the antiquated fashion rules and keeping your whites out? I hear it's still 90 degrees in New York. Sounds like summer to me. Or climate change, but that's another conversation altogether. Either way, "white after Labor Day" isn't really a thing anymore and when I see David Gandy in a white suit, I'm glad. (Google, my friend. Trust me on this.)

Which brings me to the topic of today's post -- writing rules that have gone the way of white-after-Labor-Day. (See what I did there? Or have I lost you to Google?) Some of my personal favorites:

  1. Never End a Sentence With a Preposition. Can you imagine writing dialogue with your main character saying, "About what are you talking?" Um, no.
  2. Proper Use of Who and Whom: I sort of pride myself on proper grammar, but never in conversation do I say "whom." Combine rules #1 and 2 -- the proper sentence would be, "About whom are you talking?" What everyone who's not from 19th century England would say, "Who are you talking about?"
  3. No Sentence Fragments. I love sentence fragments. Probably a little too much. 
  4. Starting a Sentence with a Conjunction. Ah, the power of "But"... In dialogue, especially, starting a sentence with "but" or "and" feels more authentic.
And then there's this. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but, yeah, I'm "guilty" of most of these. What about you? What are your favorite grammar rules to break?


13 comments:

  1. We ARE having a BBQ today, AND my lovely friend is visiting from the UK. It all comes full circle, somehow.

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  2. How fun! I hope your UK friend knows that American baked beans are NOT like Heinz baked beans. My son (who is pretty much British, despite my influences) was most dismayed about this on our trip to the US this summer.

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  3. Love it! Rules are silly :-P. Also, I love fragments too. A lot. Maybe too much. ;-)

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    1. Too much? Is that possible? Not. A. Chance.

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    1. They're more like suggestions, right? Like the speed limit? (Kidding, kidding...mostly.)

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    2. My driver's ed teacher actually taught me to go between 5 and 8 mph over the speed limit :-)

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  5. A lot of those grammar "rules" were made up in the 19th century to better conform with Latin. As usual, a little knowledge leadeth one to be a prescriptivist and a lot of knowledge leadeth one to be a descriptivist. My real question has always been though: when does the season of wearing white pants begin?

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    1. I'm pretty sure you can "traditionally" wear white between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Except if you're going to a wedding. Then, no white unless you're the bride. (In case you have a wedding coming up.)

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  6. I love that meme. I plan on wearing white this season. lol We'll see.

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    1. My rule of thumb is: if it's (semi) clean, it's fair game! Of course, we only have 2 seasons in the UK -- cold and rainy, and colder and rainier -- so I don't actually have any summer whites, myself.

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  7. Completely read my mind. =) Except the white. I don't own anything white that you wear on the lower half of your person, believe it or not! And I am a fragment lover, all the way. =)

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    1. I used to have a white linen skirt. Talk about a bad outfit day waiting to happen! One it became too stained to wear, that was the end of white. And, yes to the fragments!

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