Old Grammar Rules We Don’t Follow Anymore
Language is a living entity, evolving and shifting with the sands of time. As society changes, so do the ways we communicate. In the annals of the English language, many grammar rules that were once deemed sacrosanct have now faded into obscurity. Let’s take a nostalgic journey back in time and explore some of these old grammar guidelines that we’ve gracefully let go of in modern discourse. Welcome to “Old Grammar Rules We Don’t Follow Anymore!
Table of Contents
Splitting Infinitives is Forbidden
The old rule stated that one should never split an infinitive (to + verb). For example, “to boldly go” was considered incorrect. Today, most grammarians agree that avoiding split infinitives can make sentences sound awkward or overly formal.
Ending a Sentence with a Preposition
It was once frowned upon to end a sentence with a preposition. However, doing so can make speech sound more natural, and it’s widely accepted in modern English.
Starting a Sentence with “And” or “But”
Traditionally, starting a sentence with conjunctions like “and” or “but” was seen as informal. Today, it’s recognized as a way to create emphasis or continuity in writing.
“Ain’t” Ain’t a Word
While “ain’t” was once considered slang and improper, it’s now included in dictionaries and can be seen in various forms of literature and speech.
Double Negatives are a No-No
In Old and Middle English, double negatives were standard. Over time, they became associated with uneducated speech. However, they’re still prevalent in many dialects and have a place in artistic expression.
“They” as Singular
Using “they” as a singular pronoun was once criticized. Today, it’s widely accepted, especially as a gender-neutral pronoun.
“Whom” in Objective Cases
While “whom” is technically correct in objective cases, it’s often seen as formal and old-fashioned. Many people use “who” in everyday speech and writing, regardless of the case.
Avoiding Contractions in Writing
Contractions like “can’t,” “won’t,” or “it’s” were once seen as too informal for serious writing. Now, they’re embraced for making prose sound more conversational and accessible.
“Over” vs. “More Than”
It was once taught that “over” should indicate spatial relationships and “more than” should indicate numerical relationships. This distinction has largely been abandoned, and both terms are used interchangeably.
The Prohibition of “Like” as a Conjunction
Using “like” as a conjunction (e.g., “It felt like I was dreaming”) was once considered colloquial. While some purists still avoid it today, it’s widely accepted in everyday language.
This article was originally published on STEM Education Guide.
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