15 Grammar Rules You Were Taught at School You Can Ignore [Infographic]

    grammar rules-school children

    Grammar rules.
    Love them or hate them, they are part and parcel of writing.

    We write because we love sharing stories with our readers and connecting with other people. 

    Whether in a novel or a news article, we write for a single purpose: to communicate. And every writing decision we make should revolve around one question – does this increase or decrease our ability to communicate with our audience?

    But communicating isn’t as easy as it seems. Perfect communication isn’t an innate trait – between the mind and the pen (or keyboard), our thoughts do not always evolve into words as effectively as we’d like. We’ve all looked at our work at some point and felt the disappointment of knowing that it has little resemblance with the inspiration that exists in our head.

    Grammar rules, and the art of breaking them

    Our thoughts can lose clarity, substance, shape; in some cases, they lose meaning. No matter how much we try, we find ourselves hitting roadblocks as we write. And for many writers, one of those roadblocks is grammar rules.

    These rules are drilled into us throughout school. Luckier students were given warnings when they ended sentences with prepositions; more unfortunate students failed tests because of it. And if you started a sentence with a conjunction? Hoo boy.

    But grammar rules are a loose guideline, not a strict rulebook. 

    Rules should help shape the way we write rather than confine it. Formality at the expense of clarity is pompous, an effort in prioritizing the concerns of invisible grammar gatekeepers over the clear expression of your writing.

    If people can’t understand your writing because you’ve dressed it up in perfect grammar, then why are you writing at all?

    The point is not to ignore the rules or to dumb down your writing. Rules are important in your holistic understanding of writing. The point is to share what exists in your head to those around you in the clearest and most effective way possible. The moment that grammar rules begin getting in the way of this communication is the moment they become obsolete.

    The Expert Editor has created this great infographic outlining 15 grammar rules you were probably taught in school, and why you can ignore them in your writing today. Check it out below.

    grammar rules

    Do you agree that the above grammar rules can be ignored or do you think we should still observe them? And are there other grammar rules we should ignore? Let me know in the comments below.

    About the author

      Isabel Cabrera

      Isabel Cabrera is Communications Manager at The Expert Editor experteditor.com.au

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    • Sakshi says:

      This is wonderful, great learning. Thanks for posting.

    • Wow!!! Great. I love this

    • […] out the full article, 15 Grammar Rules You Were Taught at School You Can Ignore [Infographic]  by Isabel Cabrera published in Write To […]

    • Toni says:

      I am a writer who complies with my grade school. They have become habit. Anything else just sounds wrong and I feel like I’ve not achieved my goal of being correct.

    • Brian says:

      The “Affect” vs “Effect” is a very common and misleading oversimplification of the distinctions.

      “Effect” can be either a verb OR a noun, depending on how it is used.

      Noun: “The effect of the robbery was higher security.”

      Verb: “She will effect a revolution if she gets her way.”

      To imply that “effect” is ONLY a noun means you would get “She will affect a revolution if she gets her way”, which has a TOTALLY different meaning (and, in fact, is an incomplete thought)!

    • I’ve noticed this in college well atlas undergrad. In most classes the grammar is becoming more and more irrelevant. Even the teachers don’t really care as long as it’s readable non-plagiarized. The only time you hear any grammar flack is in English 101-102 and college writing.
      Great article

    • Janet says:

      Thanks for the article. Very helpful to me, especially rules #3 and #14. For the rules not to break, could you include the use of apostrophes after a proper noun ending in s? I think that a rule many people still get confused over.

    • janet says:

      Thanks for the article. so helpful for me, especially Rule #3 and #14

    • M. Tiro says:

      This is a good chart, but 1, almost none of the examples qualify as “grammar errors.” Most are “usage,” which by definition is opinion. 2, Your explanation includes archaic usage that students shouldn’t be learning–things like worn-out cliches (“part and parcel”), using the semicolon (it’s disappearing–let it), and “whom” (ditto–good riddance). 3, By telling students they can “break” these “grammar” rules, you’re giving the false impression that these items qualify as “grammar” (discussed above) and that they are actual “rules” that we should take seriously. But they aren’t. They are, as you correctly note under “split infinitive,” just someone’s incorrect usage opinion, and so they can and should be ignored. IOW, it was *never* wrong to put a preposition at the end of a sentence, not just in informal writing. This ignorant nonsense has misled writers for centuries.

      A couple of additional comments–#15 is not a “rule” you can break. You’re describing an error people make, and how to fix it. The same is true for your “apostrophe” category. Here’s an example for that group–using an apostrophe to create a plural, a common mistake, as in “We checked out several book’s from the library.” There are no English words that make their plural with an apostrophe-s.

      TY for a very informative post and for creating an excellent graphic.

    • Jay C. says:

      Sorry, but your #15 is ridiculous and sadly the vast majority of people do not know it is wrong because people like you now make it acceptable.

      We learned in kindergarten never to start a sentence with me and teaching people correct grammar is the right thing to do.

    • Alex says:

      Thanks for sharing, I learned more tips in this article.

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