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The 20 Most Controversial Rules in the Grammar World

Writing is not as simple as it may look from the outside. Some people may see sites like Neatorama and think writing is easy and they want to do it, but the truth is, there are many rights and wrongs when it comes to grammar. It is stuff you may remember learning in grade school and on, but if you are not a writer, they are rules you tend to forget about. How many times a day on Facebook do you see someone use the wrong version of the word "there"? That is just one of many examples of how grammar can slip you up if you are not paying attention. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to grammar and all its fine-print.

Online College actually has a remarkable list of the 20 most controversial rules in grammar. Being one who uses the language often and every day for my work, I find this list incredibly helpful at pointing out some of the sillier rules of grammar whilst also reminding us why those rules actually exist. A good example here is about the word "irregardless":

"Irregardless" appears in at least three different official dictionaries, though all of them admit it's not exactly formal. More traditional grammar aficionados don't think the word deserves to move beyond its slang origins, while others think it's about time the rule-makers acknowledge the evolution.

That is but one of twenty remarkable facts about grammar and writing that anyone who has the slightest interest in the medium should check out with aplomb. 

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

I used to read Language Log, which is a collection of linguist blogs. It made me happy to learn that a lot of spelling "rules" come from misapprehensions of how language is actually used, including many grammar rules in Strunk and White which weren't true when written, and weren't even followed by White. This link is well aligned with what I learned from LL, and nicely summarizes the points. If you want to read more about these sorts of topics, I enjoyed and recommend the "Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage" .. which has most of a column about "irregardless" :)
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My view is that it's my language, and I'll use it however I damned well please. If I choose to break the rules, the chances are I'm doing it deliberately because it creates the effect I'm looking for[1]. Except, of course, when it happens 'cos I'm careless or tired, or ignorant - and I plead to all three on occasions.
[1] For which I am looking.
Pet hates? "Utilise" instead of "use". Verbing in general..."He medalled at the Olympics". The loss of useful distinctions, such as insure/ensure.
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