Top 10 Grammar Myths

GrammarWhen you think about the rules of grammar, don’t be afraid to challenge what appears silly or useless. It probably isn’t really a rule.

Here are 10 grammar myths that prove that point.

1. A run-on sentence is a long sentence.

False. Run-on sentences aren’t long. They’re sentences without punctuation or conjunctions—long or short. “I’m short she is tall” is a run-on.

2. Never begin a sentence with “however.”

Wrong. Contrary to belief, you can start a sentence with “however.” You just need to know when to use a comma. Without a comma, “however” means “in whatever manner” or “to whatever extent.” When followed by a comma, it means “nevertheless.”

3. “Irregardless” isn’t a word.

False. It is but not a proper one. People often use it when they mean “regardless.” Regardless means “regard less” or “without regard.” The prefix “ir” is a negative one so adding it to an already negative word makes it a double-negative.

4. There’s only one way to write the possessive form of a word ending in “s.”

Wrong. It’s a style choice. In the phrase “Arkansas’s capital,” you can put an apostrophe at the end or an apostrophe “s.” Both are acceptable.

5. Passive voice is always wrong.

False. Passive sentences aren’t wrong. They’re just not always the best way to phrase your thoughts. With passive voice, it’s easy to leave out whoever’s responsible for the action.

6. I.e. and e.g. mean the same thing.

Wrong. Both are abbreviations for Latin terms. I.e. means “that is” and e.g. means “for example.”

7. Use “A” before words beginning with consonants and “An” before those starting with vowels.

False. “A” is used before words beginning with consonant sounds and “an” before those beginning with vowel sounds.

8. It’s incorrect to answer “How are you?” with “I’m good.”

Wrong. “Am” is a linking verb and should be modified by adjectives, like “good.” Since “well” also works as an adjective “I’m well” is also acceptable.

9. Don’t split infinitives.

False. Infinitives are a two-word form of a verb (e.g., to tell). In a split infinitive, another word separates the two parts (e.g., to boldly tell).

10. Never end a sentence with a preposition.

Wrong. There are many sentences where the final preposition is part of a phrasal verb or it’s a key point in the sentence.

The lesson here? The sillier grammar rules aren’t rules at all, just misconceptions.

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