Friday, October 04, 2013

Grammar rules you can forget ... if you knew them

The Guardian has this piece out about "10 grammar rules you can forget: how to stop worrying and write proper" by their style guide author, David Marsh (pictured).

What I'm curious about is the status of these as 'rules' in contemporary English, whether British or otherwise. I know some of these only barely and as historical curiosities.

Look at the 10 rules and think about (1) how many you know of and (2) how many you take seriously. Just curious.

HT to CG.


Jonathon Owen said...

It's interesting (and frankly somewhat baffling) when people debunk some tired old rules and then champion others. What makes an invented and supposedly important rule like the that/which distinction different from an invented and unimportant one like the split infinitive ban? Why let go of double negatives, even though they're still very much nonstandard in modern English?

For the record, I'm familiar with all those rules, but I only take a few seriously and a few more semi-seriously.

Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, I thought about writing a screed about the second set but decided prepping my classes was a better use of time! Thanks.

Ellen K. said...

I've heard of all but 3. I don't give thought to any of them when writing. The ones that are perhaps worth paying attention to as a stylistic/register choice I don't have any need to think about. I won't be slipping in any double negatives where I shouldn't.

Ellen K. said...

I noticed the "Five things people should worry about more" section after posting. Again, as with the other section, the ones worth paying attention to, I don't need to. And with lay/lie thinking about it doesn't help. I'm much better at using them correctly than at consciously thinking about what's correct.