Like abounding languages, English is consistently changing. And today it is alteration faster than ever. Mobile phones, amusing media, added biking and added things accept affiliated the apple added carefully and afflicted how we speak…and write.
The changes are accident so bound that English dictionaries now add hundreds of words and phrases every year.
And, aloof as these things change, so too do grammar rules.
In an beforehand Everyday Grammar program, we told you about a few grammar rules that are dying.
Today, we will acquaint you about three rules that some experts say are anachronous and never had able acumen abaft them. Breaking these rules is adequate in all but the best bookish writing, such as business belletrist and some kinds of bookish writing.
We will activate with one of the best accepted rules:
Number 1. “Never breach an infinitive.”
Generations of English speakers accept been accomplished that it is amiss to breach an infinitive. But, today, alike admired dictionaries such as the Oxford English Concordance say there is no aces aegis for the rule.
Infinitives are the banausic forms of verbs. You can analyze one by the chat “to” in advanced of a verb. For example, “to have,” “to go” and “to make” are all infinitives. Breach infinitives appear back we put an adverb in the middle. Here’s an example:
He began to flatly abjure the corruption charges.
In this sentence, the infinitive “to deny” is afar by the adverb “flatly” and it sounds actual natural.
But, back you use the “no breach infinitives” rule, the adverb can go in two places – either afore the infinitive:
He began flatly to abjure the corruption charges.
…or at the end of the sentence:
He began to abjure the corruption accuse flatly.
While the aboriginal archetype sounds fine, the additional is automated and feels unnatural.
Patricia O’Connor is a above New York Times Book Review editor and writes about English. In her book, “Woe is I,” she writes that the aphorism on breach infinitives comes from a acclaimed 1864 British grammar book that approved to administer rules of Latin to English.
Today, alike the autograph appearance guidebooks of ample media agencies adios this ancient grammar rule.
So, unless you accept a abecedary or employer who has banned breach infinitives, this is a aphorism you can dismiss.
Number 2: “Never activate a book with a conjunction.”
The words “and,” “but” and “or” appear from a accumulation of words alleged analogous conjunctions. These words affix two or added structures, such as sentences or clauses. For example, “I done the car and I took the dog for a walk” connects two complete sentences. So, technically, you can breach these into abstracted sentences: “I done the car. And I took the dog for a walk.”
Many grammar books (and teachers) advise that you should not activate a book with “and” “but” or “or.” But absolutely you’ve noticed that, actuality at VOA Learning English, we breach this old rule… a lot.
And we are not alone. Abounding added account agencies, books, websites and added media breach the rule.
In his book “The Adventure of English in 100 Words,” linguist David Crystal says that writers accept amorphous sentences with “and” and “but” back the 16th century, including William Shakespeare. He explains the rule’s abnormal history:
During the 19th century, some schoolteachers took adjoin the convenance of alpha a book with a chat like “but” or “and,” [probably] because they noticed the way adolescent accouchement abracadabra them in their writing.
Yet, instead of attached usage, Crystal says, agents banned conjunctions for aperture sentences. This has had a abiding effect, creating the abstraction that sentences alpha with these conjunctions are incomplete. That is untrue.
However, if you are activity to breach the rule, acquisition out if your academy or job permits it. In addition, you charge do it correctly, which means: Apperceive what a complete book is. For instance, “And it’s good” is a complete sentence; it has a accountable and assert but “And is good” is not; it’s missing a subject.
Lastly, don’t alpha sentences with these conjunctions too often. It can become annoying for your reader.
Now, assimilate our third old rule.
Number 3: “Use ‘each other’ for two and ‘one another’ for added than two.”
Traditionally, we accept been accomplished that “each other” refers to two bodies or things and “one another” refers to added than two bodies or things. We alarm these phrases alternate pronouns.
Here’s an archetype with “each other”:
The two animals looked at anniversary other.
And here’s an archetype with “one another”:
Family associates usually like one another.
Today, this aphorism is disappearing, and for acceptable reason. Admired dictionaries, such as the American concordance Merriam-Webster, assume to anticipate it has consistently been nonsense. Merriam-Webster writes that acceptable writers accept acclimated “each other” and “one another” interchangeably back at atomic the 16th century.
Others agree. In their book “Longman Guide to English Usage,” British grammar experts Janet Whitcut and Sidney Greenbaum address that “there is no basis” for the rule.
So, unless told otherwise, you can use “each other” and “one another” interchangeably in any autograph situation.
Know what is permitted
While these three grammar rules accept aberrant ancestry and are dematerialization from avant-garde English, it is important to apperceive the autograph appearance of your workplace, academy or university. If you are anytime borderline about accepted assessment on a grammar rule, the safest affair to do is to use it.
I’m Alice Bryant.
Alice Bryant wrote this adventure for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.Do you use the rules from today’s program? How do you feel about them changing? What are some English grammar rules that you like or dislike? Address to us the Comments area.
dictionary – n. a book that contains words listed in alphabetical adjustment and that gives advice about the words’ meanings, forms and pronunciations
phrase – n. a abrupt announcement that is frequently used
academic – adj. of or apropos to schools and education
clause – n. a allotment of a book that has a accountable and verb
linguist – n. a actuality who studies accent and the way languages work
predicate – n. the allotment of a book that expresses what is said about the subject
interchangeably – adj. able of actuality acclimated in abode of anniversary other
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