So many people I’ve taught were afraid of writing. Why? Because they thought they were controlled by endless and confusing rules! I am here to tell you that many of those rules that used to be set in stone no longer apply. Even in business and academic writing, you have much more leeway than just a few generations before you came along. Here are some once-revered rules you can ignore:
Never start a sentence with and or but. Why not? You can start a sentence with any word you choose. But if you prefer not to, that’s fine, too.
Data is always plural. It can be, but you can also use it in a singular sense with a singular verb: The data is unequivocal.
Never end a sentence with a preposition. No reason exists in English to follow this admonition. How would you feel about writing, “With whom was that person I saw you rollerskating at the park?”
The subject of a sentence must always come before the verb. Says who?
Never split an infinitive. That’s the to- form of the verb: to pontificate, to ponder, to perambulate. The old rule, which has something to do with a Latin construction, ordered us never to put an adverb between the to and the verb. You all know the world’s most famous split infinitive: to boldly go. Now you boldly go.