Grammar (and grammar nazis) often get us into awkward situations. But you can change the game now. Apparently, there are lots of common misconceptions about English grammar and people mistakenly point one other all the time. Well, it’s time to bust myths and old-school usages. We present to you 5 grammar myths teachers happily graded you on back then. Now, it’s time to know the real deal.
- Don’t Finish off a Sentence with a Preposition
How many times have we seen this silly meme? While it is funny and all, the truth is it is not correct in most parts! Prepositions are actually fine at the end of the sentences. In most cases, they are part of a phrasal verb or even necessary to make sentences sound natural. For example, these sentences are grammatically correct “I’m going to throw up”, “What are you waiting for?” However, prepositions shouldn’t come at the end of sentences if removing them would leave the meaning of the sentence the same. For instance, “where are you at?” is wrong. Here, only “where are you?” is right.
- Beginning a Sentence with a Conjunction is Wrong
They say don’t start a sentence with a conjunction. AND, they’re wrong. Many great writers have begun sentences with conjunction! This rule doesn’t allow “because, and, so, also, but” at the beginning of the sentence. But, that was mainly taught in schools to prevent children from writing fragments. But this is old-school rule is not really for adults! Another advantage of being 18+!
- Always Avoid Using Passive Voice
While active voice is preferred and most grammar software even encourage it, it’s not that the usage of passive voice is always wrong. When you want to bring attention to a particular subject, you can make use of this voice. For example, there’s a difference in these: “all chocolates were eaten” and “the fat guy ate all the chocolates.” In the first one (passive voice), you’re being completely neutral (at the surface, at least) and not blaming anybody, just stating the fact that you’re out of chocolates. But in the second sentence (active voice), you’re trying to emphasise on who made that happen (and also trying to win some enemies for the poor guy.) Using active voice, though will get you the nod from the grammar Nazis, is not always the nice thing to do.
- Never Use WHO for Animals
It’s a pretty standard rule of grammar to use ‘who’ for persons and ‘which’ for non-living things, the category in which somehow animals get included too, somehow. But it wouldn’t feel right to address your beloved puppy with “which” or even “it” now, would it? As per the AP Stylebook, as long as you know the name of the animal or know its sex, you can very well use “who, her, or him” for them! Animals are humans, after all.
Okay, maybe not.
- Using Double Negatives is Wrong
“I ain’t no saint, man”.
These kinds of sentences hurt my ears every time I hear them. It’s one of the many grammar myths prevalent in the rap world and is a result of chewing-gum pop culture. We didn’t mean to defend these sentences at all. They are obviously wrong. What we are doing is busting one of the many grammar myths that stop us from using sentences like “I’m not unhappy”. There would be a difference if you’d have just said: “I’m happy.” The double negative has beautifully created a nuance using a few words only!
Helpful, right? Hope you’ll be able to shut all fake grammarians next time they come for you.