While at school we learn many rules that teach us how to write and express ourselves properly. Some of them are an indispensable norm, others just a whim of our English teacher.Luckily,while teaching English we usually forget the pedantic rules we had been taught. Somewhere along the way we’ve realised that they are, more often then not, quite ridiculous.
For all you advanced students who want to challenge yourselves ,here are 15 such tips for proper English usage. Read them and think about how each rule has been broken. Correct the mistakes accordingly to the rule, where possible. Please don’t post any answers to us but just write the corrections down and wait for the answers, which will be published in our next blog post, together with explainations about which of these rules are “good” and which are more dubious.
1. A preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with. Never do it.
2. Remember to never split an infinitive.
3. Don’t use no double infinitives.
4. Don’t ever use contractions.
5. And never start a sentence with a conjuction.
6. Write i before e except after c. I’m relieved to receive this anciently weird rule.
7. Foreign words and phrases are not “chic”.
8. Me and John are careful to use subject pronouns correctly.
9. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
10. Who needs rhetorical questions?
11. The passive voice is to be avoided wherever possible.
12. Use fewer with number and less with quantity. Less and less people do.
13. If any word is incorrect at the end of a sentence,an auxiliary verb is.
14. Proof read carefully to see if you any words out.
15. At the end of the day avoid clichés like the plague.
Those of you who are interested in finding out more about “proper” English, may want to read this article from The Guardian:
Finally, links to two of the songs mentioned in the article. We recommend exploring the grammar of the rest of them as well.