Grammar Rules You Can Bend

Some grammar rules can be amended for reasons of style or common sense. The trick is to do this sparingly – and only if the effect has the desired purpose.

(i) Ending a sentence with a preposition. It is better to be natural than to artificially structure a sentence to comply with a grammar rule.

Example: This survey will show where most of our product orders are coming from. (not “from where most of our product orders are coming.”)

Example: This is a technology we are familiar with.

(ii) Beginning a sentence with And. This can, if used occasionally, call attention to your point.

Example: We’re number one in the health services industry. And we’re proud of it.

(iii) Beginning a sentence with But. Again, this can signal to the reader that this is an important change in direction.

Example: We thought the regulator was going to rule out price increases. But it didn’t.

(iv) Beginning a sentence with Because. This can be used to vary sentence beginnings and avoid repetition.

Example: Because the competition is closing in, we need to re-consider our pricing strategies.

(v) Splitting an infinitive. While this is, in most cases, a technical no-no, some infinitives can be split to create special emphasis.

Example: This new product will allow us to greatly increase our profit.

Example: We cannot bring ourselves to fully agree with the regulator’s position.

(vi) Using a Sentence Fragment. This can be used for emphasis, variety or compactness.

Example: Will their company win the competition? Not on your life.

Example: Our price guarantee is good for one year. Without exception.


Speak Your Mind