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January 2022 Volume 18 Issue 1

Grammar “rules” you can ignore

As if English didn’t already have enough rules, there are actually some you may have learned that aren’t rules at all — they’ve simply been passed down for generations. Here are four of them to ignore going forward.

Don’t split infinitives
This rule claims nothing should be placed between to and its verb, so phrases like to boldy go or to closely review would be incorrect. Trust me, they aren’t.

Don’t end sentences with prepositions
Does It’s nothing about which to worry read better than It’s nothing to worry about? Of course not. If you’ve been rewriting sentences that end in for, of, to, with or any other preposition, you can stop.

Don’t use they as a singular pronoun
I think we can all agree that he or she and he/she are clunky and should be avoided. Using they is perfectly okay, as in this sentence: If anyone wants to comment, they should.

Don’t start sentences with hopefully
Hopefully means “in a hopeful manner,” so the sentence Hopefully the project gets done by the deadline was once considered bad because the noun being modified doesn’t do things in a hopeful manner. However, this is the alternative: It is hoped that the project gets done by the deadline. Given that clunkiness, and the fact no one seems to have an issue with adverbs like fortunately, sadly and clearly modifying in this manner, hopefully can now do so without grammaticians cringing.

Happy 2022 — go break some rules.

New Year or new year?

There’s no debate that the phrase Happy New Year is capitalized. But what about when you use new year on its own? You may have seen it capitalized and lowercased — and both may have been correct. If you’re referring to the holiday, New Year is appropriate, but references to the year itself should be lowercased. A good rule of the thumb is to never capitalize new year when it’s preceded by an article like the or a.

Ready to be an author?

Is 2022 the year you write your book? If you know your topic, but aren’t sure what to do next, read on. Henry DeVries, CEO of Indie Books International, has helped over 300 authors create business books. He’s hosting a book kickoff master class on Friday, Jan. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon PST that costs $365. Because I’m part of the Indie Books “family,” I’ve been authorized to offer it for free to one or two serious would-be authors. Contact me if you’re interested.

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