Crimes against grammar… and other misdemeanours

Police blue light

Call the grammar police! It’s a crime against language…

How often have you seen people rage on social about this?

I’m keen on mythbusting here, because the self-appointed ‘grammar police’ (whoever they might be) can give real language professionals a bad name. They aren’t the kind of people you want to be dealing with, when it comes to your writing.

(Plus pedantry isn’t cool – especially when it calls out others’ ‘mistakes’ publicly.)

Let me reassure you: good editors don’t do this. Informing, guiding and being sympathetic to your words is where we’re at.

One language point mistaken for an inflexible grammar ‘law’ that comes up all the time is not starting a sentence with ‘And’ or But’.

Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t ungrammatical: it’s what’s known as a ‘zombie rule’.  Many people aren’t aware of this, because it used to be taught in schools to encourage good sentence construction.

But (see what I did there?) it’s never actually been an offence against all that’s grammatically holy. So, feel free to express yourself. Go ahead and use it, it’s fine!

What’s the key to good writing?

Knowing grammar. Yes, knowing the rules of language and constructing well for clarity and message are important. What’s also important is knowing when and how to break them for impact and creativity.

In non-fiction – business books especially – informal, even conversational language often has better reach and relation, because it addresses the audience in a way they can understand.

It helps them warm to you as an author, get a feel for your personality.

It’s more authentic.

And when readers like you, they’re more likely to listen to you.

So, if the grammar police charge you with breach of your piece, don’t ask for evidence. They can tell it to the judge.

Your writing is what it is, and that’s to be celebrated!

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