Rules Are Made for Breaking We're all familiar with the infamous maxims and mantras, telling us how we should and shouldn't write. Whether from a teacher, a colleague, or a user commenting on our content, we've all heard the so-called rules - but do any of them even hold water anymore? Language is constantly evolving, as is the way we use it. In the modern world, dominated by texting, tweeting, slogans and brand names, copywriters don't always have the luxury of concentrating on proper grammar. And it would be wasted if they did. Quibbling over the correct use of â€˜who' or â€˜whom' is redundant in a world numbers routinely replace letters and words. Language is a versatile tool, and these so-called rules are more like grammar guidelines to refer to when in doubt. If you know what you're doing you can use words any way you want. Does that mean you can use slang like â€˜Wagwan'? Not likely. The reason content is so important is because it reflects on the company you are presenting, as does your choice of words. Most often, you want to appear professional, which means maintaining a professional standard of writing. But that doesn't mean you can't break a few grammar standards. 5 Grammar â€˜Rules' to Break Avoid the Passive Voice While often touted to be weak, boring and and disingenuous, passive voice actually has its uses. It's bad reputation comes, primarily, from politicians. The use of sentences like, "mistakes were made," instead of, "we made mistakes," have caused the viewpoint that the passive voice is a cowardly voice. On top of that, the term passive just sounds boring. Contrasted with active voice, it sounds like the passive aggressive girlfriend giving you the silent treatment, next to the action hero saving the day. The idea of actions being performed has given rise to the misconception that you can have an active or passive verb. e.g. â€˜run' is thought to be active, while â€˜sit' is considered passive. The other common misconception is that there is such a thing as a passive tense. In fact, passive voice can be used in any tense. Once you get past the misconceptions, you realize that passive voice is actually incredibly useful, and often natural. Consider the difference between the following: I was robbed! Someone robbed me! The first example, written in the passive voice, sounds more natural and more effective as a result. This is despite lacking the â€˜agent' - the one performing the action. The passive construction is best to use when you don't want to name the acting agent - especially if that agent is one of your competitors! Always Write in Complete Sentences This is undoubtedly sound advice is you are writing an essay. Otherwise, it's redundant. Marketing slogans don't need to be full sentences. Product descriptions neither. Email headings, title tags, various other forms of copy. This mantra is a throwback to school days when bullet points on John Steinbeck's techniques weren't enough to make the grade. But we're grown-ups now - at least, some of us are. In the classroom we had to prove we fully understood the material; now we have to make sure our readers do. Sometimes, this means using sentence fragments or even bullet points to get across as much information as possible. We don't always have time to fully articulate every idea, and our readers often don't always have the time to read it. On a similar note, there are those who will condemn the one word sentence. For me, there's nothing punchier than a one-word sentence, especially if it comes on the heels of a whole chunk of long, detailed explanations. Sound effects, calls to action, or intense emphasis are all conveyed brilliantly by one-word sentences. As long as they are few and far between, there's no reason to hate on them. So, stop. Please. Never Verb a Noun Google it. No, that's not an instruction, it's an example. â€˜Google', as we all know, is brand name. And yet, the company has become so successful that the name is synonymous with web search. The verb, â€˜texting' came from a noun too. This isn't at all new. Years before Google even existed, â€˜Hoover' replaced the word â€˜vacuuming', â€˜tape' became the preferred word for â€˜record', and â€˜microwave' became the verb form of warming up noodles. This is how language develops and evolves. It's one of the oldest and simplest techniques for creating new vocabulary, and doesn't only apply to new technology. cut sleep drawing face The examples are countless. Unsurprisingly, the opposite also occurs. Verbs are used as nouns. Most important, the much scoffed verb form of â€˜impact' actually existed first. It was made a noun afterwards! Don't Start Sentences with â€˜And' or â€˜But' But what if it sounds better that way? Avoiding these words might necessitate an extra clause or phrase, which makes your sentence seem wordy and awkward. Stylistically - which, in content writing, matters far more than grammatically - the occasional sentence initiated with â€˜and' can be incredibly emphatic, with a wide range of effective uses. This guideline seems like it was perfect for literacy lessons when the teacher wanted to prevent a listed narrative (and then this happened, and then, and then...). In general, however, it seems to assume that sentences exist in a vacuum. Sentences take meaning from their context, whether it's the sentence before or the paragraph before, or even the text that follows. As with incomplete sentences, the effect can be fuller and more abrupt when the traditional form is eschewed. Critically acclaimed novelists have being doing it for generations. Lastly, why just those two? Any other connective is permitted from the outset, except these two. However, nevertheless, while, yet, so, then, also, by, also, unless and all the others you can think of are absolutely fine. What's that all about? Don't End Sentences With Prepositions Then what do we end sentences with? This is most definitely just a guideline. The logic behind it is archaic and following this advice, in most cases, will make your writing sound archaic. The above question, formulated â€˜properly', would read: With what do we end sentences? Grammatically correct or not, prepositions naturally float to the end of some phrases, and that's okay. Especially in content. We don't want to appear snooty or aloft; we want to appeal to the masses. The voice we use in our content should be one our readers can relate to, so it's important to write (to some extent) the way we would speak. Not the way grammar purists insist.