Three Dubious Rules of English Usage for Writers to Ignore




I generally admire William Safire’s views on language and the way he uses “fumblerules” to illustrate his points, but occasionally disagree with him. He considers that split infinitives, prepositions at the end of a sentence, and conjunctions to start a sentence always represent poor usage. I’m offering three counter-rules: Be willing to split an infinitive if necessary to really communicate. Prepositions are good to end a sentence with. And you can start one with a conjunction. Scholars and authors of the seventeenth century, John Dryden for instance, found the Anglo-Saxon background of English somehow uncouth and tried to remake formal … Continue reading