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7 Common Grammar Myths You Should Stop Believing

  • May 11, 2018
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With the development of social media, people have become very lazy to take care of grammar in their everyday communications. When texting, they try to use simple sentences and fragments that are quite acceptable in these mediums. But, unfortunately, ignoring grammar rules is becoming a bad habit.

Of course, English grammar is tough and riddled with complex forms, usage, and conventions but some of the rules you were taught at school are not actually true. There are common grammar myths that we should stop believing because they can hold us back when we are speaking or writing something.

1. Never split an infinitive 

According to this pseudo-rule, you should never put an adverb between toand the verb as in to read. It is based on the 18th-century idea to equate Latin with English. Now a lot of grammarians will tell you that it’s OK to split infinitives, especially if it can have an emphatic effect.

2. Don’t end a sentence with a preposition

 At school, most of us were taught that it’s a mistake to end sentences with prepositions. This ‘rule’ dates back to the 17thcentury when some notable poets thought that English needed to obey the rules of the Latin grammar. Prepositions are parts of many phrasal verbs such as look foror see off and if you separate them, it will change your meaning. The only case when you shouldn’t use a preposition to end a sentence is when it has the same meaning without it. For example, it is wrong to say “Where is she going to?” because the sentence “Where is she going?” means the same.

3. It’s wrong to begin a sentence with a conjunction

Typically, teachers tell their students not start sentences with conjunctions (or, because, and, so, but, also) because, in this way, they can avoid writing fragments. But this rule doesn’t apply to adults. A lot of famous English writers, including Kipling, Blake, and Shakespeare started sentences with and and but.

4. Always avoid using passive voice

Active sentences are preferable because they are stronger but the passive voice is quite acceptable, especially, in formal documents like scientific papers and official reports. Sentences with the passive voice sound more objective. Besides, you can use the passive phrases if you don’t know who performed the action. e.g. The building was destroyed in the 19thcentury.

5. A run-on sentence is always long

That’s wrong. These sentences can be short but their clauses are put together without proper conjunction or punctuation. If you write “I am young she is old” without a dash, colon or semicolon between 2 independent clauses, it’s a run-on sentence in spite of the fact that it consists of only 6 words. On the other hand, the sentence can be long and structurally correct.

6. Using double negatives is always wrong

In English, when two negatives are used together, they actually cancel each other and create the logical positive. That’s why commonly, they should be avoided. In writing and in formal speech, double negatives are nonstandard but they are often used in popular music and in informal speech. Famous writers Chaucer and Shakespeare have successfully used double negatives in their works to powerfully emphasize the negative.

7. None is used with a singular verb

There is a common misconception that none means no one and is always singular. On the contrary, grammarians generally believe that this word can also mean not any and is in the plural. According to Oxford Dictionaries, none can be used both with a singular and a plural verb. It depends on the emphasis and the context. Some grammarians argue that none should be always followed by a plural verb unless there is a good reason to think it has a singular meaning.

Grammar is important for effective communication regardless of the language – English, German, Italian etc. Good grammar helps people correctly express their thoughts and sound intelligent in any language. If you are learning a foreign language, you should learn grammar rules and practice your grammar skills while reading books, listening to podcasts, or having speaking lessons with an experienced tutor like those who teach Spanish online at an education portal at Preply. Correct grammar is vital to success in any career so you should work hard and practice a lot to improve your grammar skills.

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