Three Grammar Rules to Forget (Because They’re Wrong)

Writing well is difficult. It requires a lot of time and patience. And it’s made more difficult when one has to ignore one’s earliest teaching on the subject.

I fondly recall my elementary school teachers. Well, most of them. And it’s true that a lot of rules they taught me (say please and thank you, wait your turn, use a tissue, not your sleeve) have served me well throughout life. But our teachers, with the best of intentions, often teach us writing rules that are simply incorrect when we grow up and strive to write better than a third-grader.

Here are three rules you may have learned back in grade school that you should forget.

Don’t Start a Sentence with “And” or “But”

At a legal-writing CLE I taught with Matt Salzwedel, one of the attendees noted that she was taught early on never to start a sentence with “and” or “but.” Matt explained that children are taught this rule so that they don’t fall into the trap of using “and” to start sentences over and over:

Yesterday I woke up. And I got dressed. And then I ate breakfast. And I had cereal. And then I went outside to play. And it was fun.

You get the idea. But you’re not going to write like that (we hope). So forget that rule. Using “and” to start a sentence is not only grammatically correct, it’s often the best choice. Compare this:

The defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacket. And he was high on methamphetamine.

to this:

The defendant had a pistol in his jacket. Additionally, he was high on methamphetamine.

Which sentence has a greater impact?

Keeping “but” away from the front of your sentence leads to the dreaded “however comma.” Compare this:

Mr. Jones identified the defendant as his attacker. But he later admitted he lied to police about that and other facts.

to this:

Mr. Jones identified the defendant as his attacker. However, he later admitted he lied to police about that and other facts.

So “and” or “but” not only can start a sentence, often they should.

Don’t End a Sentence with a Preposition

This rule comes from a few Latin-obsessed writers in the 19th century. But English sentences are not structured like Latin. Forcing the preposition into the sentence leads to bad results:

What is the new tool used for?


For what purpose is the new tool used?

Adverbs Must Always End with “—ly”

As I previously wrote, there are a number of “flat” adverbs that don’t feature “ly.” Examples include:

high, fast, slow, hard, easy, sure, bright, wrong, right, near, late, safe, and soon.

Some can use “ly” but don’t need to, like “safe.” “Drive safe” is just as correct as “drive safely.” But “soonly” and “fastly”? Nope.

There Are No Rules

Here’s the truth about grammar rules: there aren’t any.

You won’t find a Universally Accepted Book of Grammar Rules anywhere. People create what wind up being called “rules” in an effort to improve others’ writing. Some rules are helpful in some situations but not in others. The best way to improve your grammar (or any other aspect of your writing) is to read good writing, buy a good guide to usage (and consult it), and work hard on your own writing.

Originally published 2013-04-18. Revised 2015-04-03. Republished 2017-04-21.


  1. Avatar Matt Mergendahl says:

    Conjunction junction, what’s your function?

  2. Avatar Terry says:

    It is always good to read an article on good grammar. And it is even better to read one which emphasises the use of good grammar. But that is the point of this article isn’t it?

    I imagine that is the sort of thing you meant! :-)

  3. Avatar Israel Usman says:

    Great! More of these, please

  4. Avatar Randall R. says:

    There’s no mention of Yuni in this article. But I guess it’s still ok. And correct.

  5. Avatar JRS says:

    I’m still not on board with starting sentences with any conjunction. The whole idea is that conjunctions link sentences and explain the relationship between the two sentences. Rather than having two separate sentences with the second sentence beginning with a conjunction, why not just use a conjunction as intended? Writing as you advocate is disjointed, relatively staccato in delivery, and frankly, harsh to read. Although you use a childish example followed by a “legal” example, the writing is still simplistic in style and fails to cohesively communicate the relationship between the separate sentences.

    I’d also point out that when you present two choices, the preferred choice is the better choice, not the best choice. If your aim is to improve writing, please be mindful of your own writing.

    Furthermore, if there aren’t any grammar rules, as you state in your concluding paragraph, isn’t your entire thesis (that the three rules you’ve explained are “wrong”) contradicted by the concluding paragraph?

  6. Avatar Peter Brackney says:

    Good article on good grammar!

  7. Avatar Dan says:

    Actually, the whole idea is that conjunctions link thoughts. A single thought is generally contained within a single sentence. BUT, there is nothing requiring such a simplistic approach. Consequently, there is nothing wrong with combining two thoughts that happen to occur in two sentences.

  8. Avatar Claire Kitchen says:

    Sorry, but if a trainee solicitor drafted a document using ‘and’ as the first word in a sentence, I would ask him or her to redraft. I have seen English judges criticise documents because of perceived bad grammar and spelling.

    • While it’s important to not irritate a judge, a judicial appointment (or election) does not make one an authority on writing. One of the reasons lawyers don’t write well is that we spent law school reading poorly-written judicial opinions. Here’s one sentence from perhaps the most famous American torts case, Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R. Co. (N.Y. 1928) (Cardozo, J.):

      If no hazard was apparent to the eye of ordinary vigilance, an act innocent and harmless, at least to outward seeming, with reference to her, did not take to itself the quality of a tort because it happened to be a wrong, though apparently not one involving the risk of bodily insecurity, with reference to some one else.

      Cardozo wound up on the U.S. Supreme Court. There’s a law school named after him. But that sentence is incomprehensible. Therefore, it’s bad writing. (Thanks to Matt Salzwedel for providing that example.)

    • Avatar Matthew S. says:

      If an English judge gives you grief about beginning a sentence with And, ask him whether he’s prepared to indict Chaucer, Shakespeare, Swift, and Percy Bysshe Shelley for doing it. Better yet, ask him whether he thinks that Lindley Murray — the father of English grammar — was messing up by using conjunctions to begin sentences. See Bryan A. Garner, On Conjunctions as Sentence-Starters, Garner on Language and Writing (2009).

    • I have to agree with Andy and Matthew here. While my posts often get torn apart for their ideas, no one’s ever complained about style. And that’s what grammar is really all about, IMO.

      • Avatar Lukasz Gos says:

        Aquinas’s writing was praised for how it was transparent. I hadn’t noticed that when I read him …but that’s precisely the point, I guess. Old Roman jurists would make great writers for the Web, too.

  9. Avatar Ricardo says:

    Interesting rules

  10. Avatar Elliott says:

    Why use “and” when you can make an even better sentence without it:

    High on methamphetamine, the defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacket.

    • That’s a fine sentence. But I like my two sentences better, as I think they more effectively drive home the message that the defendant’s actions were extraordinarily reckless. Your one sentence doesn’t do that as well, in my opinion. You and I differ as to style. But the real point is that my two sentences are correct in terms of their grammatical construction.

    • Avatar Lukasz Gos says:

      Without additional context, I think the opener acts like an adverbial clause of reason there, implying some sort of causation, i.e. that the methamphetine is responsible for the loaded pistol, while the real problem here is that we’ve got a gunner (not necessarily a problem per so) who’s stoned. I’ve got to agree with Andy that the “and” sentence looks better.

  11. Avatar Kate Hendrickson says:

    I disagree with your assessment that we should forget these grammar rules, unless you wish to write as if you are speaking. As you demonstrate, that is a mistake!

  12. Avatar Anita Svensson says:

    I believe extreme caution must be exercised when deciding to toss out accepted rules of grammar when writing legal documents. Following accepted rules of grammar mitigates the possibility of legal misunderstandings. One does not need to be such a stickler for grammar when writing non-legal documents, where style takes precedence over grammar.

    Andy uses the example of the defendant with the loaded pistol. He asks which of the two examples has the “greater impact.” My opinion is that by disconnecting these two clauses into separate sentences, the impact is lost. This is especially true since both clauses reference a single subject. I believe a best solution would have been to write it as the following:

    The defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacket and was high on methamphetamine.

    When two conjunctive clauses reference the same subject, the comma between the clauses should be eliminated. By using this method, the reader makes an immediate and uninterrupted connection between the two clauses.

    • Please cite the authorities that support your position.

      • Avatar Anita Svensson says:

        William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, fourth edition is one source.

        • Hm. Since you didn’t cite your source until asked, and then didn’t provide a page or section number (which one might call a “rule” for a proper lawyerly debate), I pulled my copy (also 4th ed.) from the shelf and looked up “conjunction” in the index. Lo and behold, this is what I found on page 25:

          18. Avoid a succession of loose sentences. This rule refers especially to loose sentences of a particular type: those consisting of two clauses, the second introduced by a conjunctive or relative. A writer may err by making sentences too compact or periodic. An occasional loose sentence prevents the style from becoming too formal and gives the reader a certain relief. Consequently, loose sentences are common in easy, unstudied writing. The danger is that there may be too many of them.

          While that passage may refer to itself as a “rule,” it does not recommend never starting a sentence with a conjunction. If anything, its advice is to be careful not to write like a third-grader.

          • Avatar Anita Svensson says:

            Page 5, Section 4. MAIN HEADING: Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. SUBHEADING: When the subject is the same for both clauses and is expressed only once, a comma is useful if the connective is BUT. When the connective is AND, the comma should be omitted if the relation between the two statements is close or immediate.

            Example in the Book: He has had several years’ experience and is thoroughly competent.

            I NEVER stated that one should NEVER start a sentence with AND. Since I do not consider MYSELF a recognized authority in English grammar I would not be so bold as to lay out rules to be obeyed or ignored by everyone else. If you read my comment again you will see that I stated that it was “my opinion” that my solution was the the best of the three presented and I gave a supporting reason WHY. If I played loose and reckless by not citing my authoritative source until asked, I sincerely apologize.

            Having stated the above, my personal preference is NOT to start a sentence with AND or BUT except in informal conversational writing.

            • Avatar Andy M. says:

              Your first comment referred twice to “accepted rules of grammar.” I was curious to hear if you were aware of an authority that provided the rule. The Elements of Style does not. I don’t consider myself an authority on grammar either. My post is merely repeating what numerous authorities have to say, Garner and Fowler among them. For instance, as Matt noted above, see Garner On Language and Writing, page 63, on conjunctions as sentence-starters.

  13. Avatar Anita Svensson says:

    Grammarly Handbook does not state that using a conjunction to start a sentence is in violation of any “rules.” But it does state the following:

    “If a conjunction is used at the beginning of a sentence, the reader may be looking for an idea to connect to the sentence. While using a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence can add emphasis, it’s an informal means of doing so. You can use it in creative or personal writing, but it’s not recommended for formal writing.”


    If you are bothered by my use of the term “accepted rules of grammar”, let’s throw it out and focus primarily on the argument at hand. You stated that by using the method of breaking the sentence into two and starting the second sentence with an AND, it would provide “greater impact.” I choose to disagree. I believe that it would have been better to apply the SUGGESTION provided in the example by STRUNK AND WHITE. Using their SUGGESTION, I combined the two sentences into one in the way I illustrated in my above comment. I believe that this alternative would have provided the greatest impact for the reasons I stated above. The Grammarly Handbook would appear to agree with my assessment that beginning a sentence with a conjunctive is NOT appropriate in formal writing.

  14. Avatar Chris says:

    I believe you are mistaken regarding not ending with a preposition. In most cases, the preposition is a crutch and sloppy use of language. For instance, in your example, the preposition “for” is completely unneeded. The better structured sentence is simply, “What is the purpose of the new tool?” In this way, many of these words and phrases can be avoided entirely. If they are truly necessary, they should be used correctly.

    • Again, that’s a style preference that has nothing to do with “correct” grammar.

    • Avatar TheSloop says:

      I disagree. Consider directness and clarity. “What is the new tool used for?” “To hammer small nails.” This meaning of “use” is clear.
      “What is the purpose of the new tool?” “To hammer small nails. It is designed to hammer small nails, but does not work well. It will be a door prize at the woodworker’s club meeting. This will expand our company’s product line. To replace the one I broke…” The inference and interpretations of ‘purpose’ beyond “use” are multiple. Contextual crutches may clarify, but it is neater to simply get to the point.

  15. Avatar Zack says:

    I don’t really see how this:

    The defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacket. And he was high on methamphetamine.

    has any more impact than:

    The defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacked, and he was high on methamphetamine.

    It really seems like the only thing you accomplish by choosing the first rather than the second is to distract your reader, causing him to spend more energy considering the relative appropriateness of beginning a sentence with “and” than considering the effectiveness of your argument.

    If you wanted to add impact by emphasizing that the two events were contemporaneous, you would probably want to do that by choosing a more precise word than “and” instead of forcing an altered grammatical structure that is more distracting than useful.

    But I do agree that it’s not a hard and fast rule. I just think it will be a rare case where it is the best, clearest, highest impact option and will not be more distracting than helpful.

    • Again, a style choice. I don’t agree that I’m “forcing an altered grammatical structure that is more distracting than useful.” I’m merely choosing a style that has been used by prominent writers for centuries.

      • Avatar Zack says:

        But when the style choice that you make is to use a grammatical structure that is widely, if erroneously, considered incorrect, you know that your choice is going to distract at least some of your readers. Worse, it may lower you in their esteem. What are you going to do? Debate the grammatical correctness of your sentence structure with a judge (or a client)?

        It’s not really helpful to segregate the discussion along the lines of grammar and style. Grammar and style guidelines both exist so that we can understand each other. And even though there is no universally accepted book of grammar rules, there a great many rules that are widely accepted, some of which modern grammarians say are unnecessary or invalid.

        As a writer, you are using what you understand of the body of widely accepted rules to create a certain reaction inside your reader’s head. The desired reaction is for the reader to understand whatever you are trying to convey. If you make a grammatically correct style choice that you know is likely to hinder your ability to be understood, and which may even cause the reader to lose respect for you and what you have to say, does it really matter that it is grammatically correct? You run the risk of impairing your ability to be understood any time you deliberately violate any of the “incorrect” grammar rules. It’s important to consider your audience and evaluate whether breaking the “rule” is worth the risk.

        The plain language movement is about communicating more clearly. My opinion is that beginning a sentence with a conjunction serves that end when it reads so naturally that most readers wouldn’t even think twice about it. That is not the case with your examples. And I know they’re just examples that you intended to show sentences that would be grammatically correct, not to be the best possible examples. But the fact that it was hard to give an example that reads naturally proves the point that beginning a sentence with “and” or “but” is sometimes, but not often, the best choice.

  16. Avatar Daphne Macklin says:

    Nice short, clear well written piece. I recall having someone give me the “tut, tut” thing when I dared to start a sentence with “And”. What’s important, in what I learned with a lot of intensive writing training starting as a 5th grader (with an English teacher for a mother) was remember the difference between spoken language and written language. Formal, however does not have be gobbledigook.

  17. Avatar Derrick` says:

    The purpose of writing is to convey the meaning of what you wish to say. Grammar is a tool to guide you, nothing more. If you achieve that you have not broken any rules.

  18. Avatar Mack says:

    Surely a colon deals with this problem? So the sentence would then read “The defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacket: and was high on methamphetamine”, although this seems no better than the ‘one sentence’ option of “The defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacket and was high on methamphetamine”. A full stop or a colon both make the ” and was high on methamphetamine” appear to be an after thought.

  19. Avatar CLV says:

    Ignoring grammar rules is appropriate for those who write well, because they know when they can get away with it, and when it does not work. For those still learning to write well (and aren’t we all), grammar rules can be very useful.

  20. Avatar Ryan says:

    Just a quick note on starting those sentences. In academic writing, starting a sentence with “and” or “but” is usually considered incorrect. Also, simply placing a comma in front of the “but” or “and” is often more slick and is always grammatically correct. See below.

    This is my sentence, and it is grammatically correct.

  21. Avatar sbynyc says:

    You should consider deleting this article. It could be accepted by young, impressionable attorneys who may not be quick to discern the falsities and misnomers. I’m sorry if I am missing an April Fool’s prank but the article purports to be a serious expression on a subject that is ubiquitous in our profession.

  22. Avatar Jeffrey R. Gottlieb says:

    I think a big part of this is context. What might be acceptable to one audience in a certain context might not be to another. Writing an appellate brief is completely different from writing a blog post. Sure, they both involve the written word, but the accepted “rules” of grammar really are different. In a blog post, you should write more like you speak. And it is natural to speak by beginning sentences with ‘and’ or ‘but.’ But I’d probably not try that in a brief to a court.

  23. Avatar Jamie Sutton says:

    I think it’s certainly true that one has to have a knowledge and appreciation of the rules to be able to break them. But it’s hard for anyone with an education to argue against the fact that a lot of English grammar rules are vestigial or little more than someone’s pet peeve that somehow became wide-spread.

    I saw it in Academia, and I’m seeing it in law school – people use dense and obscure language as a way to protect their expertise and as a gate to keep “commoners” out of the system, whatever that system may be. I think it’s not only perfectly possible, but should be encouraged, to write legal opinions/briefs/etc. in as simple and straight-forward a way that you can manage. . . maybe even a sixth grade level

  24. Grammar rules are arbitrary. However, this does not mean they are useless or that they should be ignored. They will change slowly over time. That is fine. Attorneys, however, should probably not be on the bleeding edge of new grammar constructions or usages.

    The most important thing for good legal writing is to not allow how one writes to detract attention from what one writes. If one is writing for a judge or a reader who is over 40 years old traditional grammar will be more effective than new/bad grammar. Younger readers may not be as bothered by improper grammar.

    I actually found most of the “it’s ok to do it this new way that used to be wrong” examples in the article to be jarring and distracting. If I read “Mr. Jones identified the defendant as his attacker. But he later admitted he lied to police about that and other facts” instead of the proper form I would notice the improper grammar. It would detract my attention from what the writer is attempting to communicate. The use of “However,” is a much clearer method of introducing a statement that contrasts with what came previously.

    I hope that attorneys will not be mislead by this article. It is, in my opinion, wrongheaded. Words are an attorney’s primary tools. They should be treated with care and used with precision.

    • Avatar Jen Bacon Wojeski says:

      Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., 5.207 Beginning a sentence with “however.” “…But however is more ponderous and has less impact than the simple but. However is more effectively used within a sentence to emphasise the word or phrase that precedes it.

      This follows paragraph 5.206, which is a rant about the “groundless notion that it is incorrect to begin [a sentence] with ‘but’ or ‘and.'”

      • Touche. You are correct that most if not all style guides allow beginning sentences with a coordinating conjunction such as “and” or “or”. BUT, it has historically been taught as incorrect and is therefore jarring to many readers (especially older readers). I thought the article’s example was a good example of a use case that would be found jarring to many readers. The bigger problem with the usage of “but” is really more one of overuse.

  25. Avatar NoName says:

    Don’t get me started on the debates I’ve had regarding the singular “their” and “they”.

    “A defendant is entitled to relief upon a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel if they demonstrate that (etc.).” I will always prefer to use that style, “authorities” be damned.

  26. Avatar Ben says:

    This is an impressive collection of poor advice on writing.

    “Drive safe” does not mean the same as “drive safely.” Telling someone to “drive safe” is the same as telling someone to “be safe” – it’s more a sense of wishing someone good luck as opposed to telling him to act in a certain manner.

    In both of the example sentences suggesting that starting with “and” and “but” would be better or somehow more correct, I would argue that you’re just plain wrong. The use of “additionally” sounds more powerful to me in that one sentence. However, rather than rewriting it with either “additionally” or “and,” I’d suggest leaving off the conjunction entirely and instead the sentences would be most powerful written as follows:

    “The defendant had a loaded pistol in his jacket. He was high on methamphetamine.”

    Though I’m sure we could spend plenty more time debating the rest of this piece, it hardly seems necessary or worthwhile; suffice it to say that the author’s concept of grammar is clearly not in line with most others’ standards.


  27. Avatar Vic says:

    For those who insist that starting a sentence with “and” or “but” has no place in formal writing, you may be partially correct. But you may also be writing ineffectively and less persuasively if you staunchly adhere to such rigid beliefs. Please read: Andy and Matt are absolutely right in explaining why *students* are taught not to violate this “rule.” But here’s the thing: you’re a lawyer, and thus a *professional* writer. You should be able to figure out when it makes sense to “break” this rule for maximum impact. And if you don’t? Work on your writing skills some more.

    • Avatar Lisa says:

      This is an excellent example of effective use of sentences beginning with “but” and “and.” And I doubt many readers felt “jarred” or confused by the seamless integration of the non-rule rule.

      If we continue to cowtow to archaic grammatical folklore, the movement toward plain English in the law will fail.

  28. Avatar Jennifer Gumbel says:

    Also add, “passive voice is not permissible”. It is if you don’t want to emphasize the actor. For example: “No, your Honor. My client didn’t agree to the settlement offer.” to “No, your Honor. A settlement agreement was not reached.”

    • Avatar Sam Glover says:

      Let’s call passive voice “disfavored.” I think one of the best uses of it is when you don’t want to blatantly call the judge out for making the wrong call. “The wrong decision was made” is a little lighter than “the trial judge made the wrong decision.” You just kind of leaving it hanging out there.

      Still, use sparingly. It’s still usually better to be clear.

      • Avatar Jennifer Gumbel says:

        I agree. Passive voice is a crutch that I have a bad habit of falling back on, but when I run into situations where I want to de-emphasize the actor.. I need it!

  29. Avatar Jennifer Gumbel says:

    In seeing the back and forth, the following thought came to my mind. How many people think stereotypical legal writing with the “heretofore” and mindless, redundant over use of “however” and “thirdly” is helpful to anybody? Brian Gardner doesn’t. Certainly writing for the audience matters. But, if our rule of thumb to always err on the formal side and to write in conformance with decades old (and in many cases, outdated) language norms, how does the legal profession break out of legalese almost entirely inaccessible to most readers, including our clients? Frankly, I’d prefer to be accused of being too informal, but accessible, than too formal and inaccessible.

  30. Avatar Jerry says:

    I agree with Ryan, below. “And” and “but” are conjunctions. They are meant to join two independent clauses with a comma. Your sentences above, which you begin with “and” or “but,” are just as effective and structurally better if you remove the period, insert a comma, and lose the capitalization of the conjunction. As for the “but” sentence, if you use a comma, you do not need a semi-colon and “however” (which is more appropriate than combining “however” with a period.

    Regardless of the “rule’s” origin, ending a sentence with a preposition is at least unsophisticated, if not harsh. Such sentence structure is colloquial. For example, consider “where are you at?” The preposition is unnecessary. Even in your example above, better questions are: “why is the new tool used?” or “what purpose does the new tool serve?”

    When you fail to end an adverb in “ly” that should end in “ly,” then you may create confusion. “Drive safe.” Is this a command that my act of driving should be safe, or did you forget a noun for “safe” to modify, such as “cars”? Drive safe cars. Instead, are you telling me to drive a safe, if that is possible? Adding the “ly” provides clarity and does not diminish from the sentence. As such, I always hope that you drive safely.

  31. Avatar Lyn Anderson says:

    It’s true that there is no grammatical equivalent of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). But there should be. Even this article which purports to improve writing is just the author’s opinion. I don’t like the way “Drive safe” sounds at all. But then, that’s just my opinion.

  32. Avatar Ben W says:

    Wow – this article is chock full of bad advice. I read every one of your examples of appropriate word choices and sentences and disagree on all of them. Your example for the use of “and” is just lame – a good writer would rather just combine the sentence. Your example for “but” is just backward – the second sentence not only makes more sense but reads better. Your argument in favor of using adverbs without “ly” is poor – “Drive safe” does not mean the same as “Drive safely.” Telling someone to drive safely is telling them to be careful with their actions. Telling one to “drive safe” not only sounds awkward but creates unnecessary ambiguity. Perhaps you could use some refresher lessons.

  33. Avatar M. Schatz says:

    It seems that the participants on this forum are getting hung up on the use of grammar as guidelines or rules. I think that there are definitive best practices for writing that hinges on the purpose or style of the particular document. In legal writing, the most critical element is to write in the active voice as much as possible. My Legal Writing professor who also had a Ph. D. in English taught me that writing with an active voice forces the author to write more concisely. A passive voice might work for less technical writing.

    The bottom line is I think best practices for different writing styles do exist. While those best practices may not be set in stone, they probably represent the most appropriate writing styles for a particular purpose.

    I think the author has made some valid points about alternative ways to convey the same message; however, I think the statement that there are no rules of grammar, though technically correct, conveys a sense of complete grammatical freedom. This might work for texting, but I agree with others that this may be bad advice or, at a minimum, sending the wrong message to current and future attorneys.

    Check out a resource like these:

  34. Avatar Ernest says:

    A lady whom I looked to for some guidance – once remarked to me that A dictionary does not define words, but rather ‘usage’.
    I recall as I was growing up people saying that, “Ain’t, isn’t a word” – but it was because people were using it.
    Of course, ‘slang’ changes everything…right?
    Now, there are many other things I wish to consider – but not here – so, one thing that does make since, if you think about what you are saying about not needing sentences with a preposition – it makes good sense, think about what you are saying – e.g. “where did that come from?” That sounds fine when you do not think about it – but look at the structure! It is more accurate to say, “From where did that come?” of course it doesn’t sound “poetic” enough to most.
    Also there is the redundancy e.g. :Where are you going to” that’s ridiculous!!!
    “Where are you going” is what you are meaning, not “to” that adds nothing to the sentence.
    I would just like to see ALL people especially broadcasters and writers learn to know that a “PODIUM” is NOT a “LECTERN”!

  35. Avatar MickB says:

    The late Justice Scalia truly valued good writing & a good story. “Read widely . . . books and articles of good writers” (even the New Yorker).

    Channelling his beliefs on good writing, he’d likely agree w/ your 3rd idea of No Rules, ‘but’ this freedom should improve your writing:
    *Don’t request permission to exceed (set) page limits
    * Less words the better
    *Make it interesting, engaging
    **more concise
    ***more persuasive – because that is your ultimate objective.

    “…just because your making complex legal argument it doesn’t have be boring. . . .nothing is worse than canned legalese. . .
    (Scalia, paraphrased).

    Read his books & articles; he teaches from great experience and with humor.


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