What You Need to Know about Breaking the Rules of Grammar


Last month, I covered 10 grammar mistakes to avoid so that you make a good first impression on prospects and customers.

I also shared the post on LinkedIn and was surprised how many read it and gave positive feedback. Apparently, this is something people worry about and want to improve upon. And that’s GREAT. I’m thrilled that so many found it helpful.

At the same time, it made me uncomfortable.

Because here’s the thing: Rules — yes, even grammatical ones — are meant to be broken.

In The Elements of Style, the quintessential guide book to all things writing, the authors advise writers to “write in a way that comes naturally to you, using words and phrases that come readily to hand.”

In other words, if you don’t talk like Shakespeare, you don’t have to write like Shakespeare.

Actually, Shakespeare is a terrible example. He made up his own grammatical rules, along with entirely new words, all the time.

So on second thought, maybe you should write a little more like Shakespeare.

But before you grab your grammar hammer and start smashing rules willy nilly, you must have a firm grasp of what the rules are to begin with. Then, you should have a rock solid reason for breaking them.

For example, most of us, when speaking, end sentences with prepositions. So when you’re writing, it’s totally okay to end your sentence in a preposition if it makes the sentence easier to understand.

Being easy to understand is critical. If prospects can’t quickly grasp what you’re selling or why they need it, they won’t buy. Period.

So be clear. Be concise. And if that means breaking the rules sometimes, get out the grammar hammer and start smashing.

Your turn: What’s one grammar rule you frequently break and why do you do it? Tell me in the comments.

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