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 Grammar Myths

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PostSubject: Grammar Myths   Thu May 29, 2008 4:25 am

Here's a list of the grammar myths:


10. A run-on sentence is a really long sentence. Wrong!:
They can actually be quite short. In a run-on sentence, independent clauses are squished together without the help of punctuation or a conjunction. If you write I am happy I am glad* as one sentence without a semicolon, colon, or dash between the two independent clauses, it's a run-on sentence even though it only has six words.

9. You shouldn't start a sentence with the word however. Wrong!:
It's fine to start a sentence with however so long as you use a comma after it when it means "nevertheless."

8. Irregardless is not a word. Wrong!:
Irregardless is a word in the same way ain't is a word. They're informal. They're nonstandard. You shouldn't use them if you want to be taken seriously, but they have gained wide enough use to qualify as words.

7. There is only one way to write the possessive form of a word that ends in s. Wrong!:
It's a style issue. For example, in the phrase Kansas's statue, you can put just an apostrophe at the end of Kansas or you can put an apostrophe s at the end of Kansas. Both ways are acceptable.

6. Passive voice is always wrong. Wrong!:
Passive voice is when you don't name the person who's responsible for the action. An example is the sentence "Mistakes were made," because it doesn't say who made the mistakes. If you don't know who is responsible for an action, passive voice can be the best choice.

5. I.e. and e.g. mean the same thing. Wrong!:
E.g. means "for example," and i.e. means roughly "in other words." You use e.g. to provide a list of incomplete examples, and you use i.e. to provide a complete clarifying list or statement.

4. You use a before words that start with consonants and an before words that start with vowels. Wrong!:
You use a before words that start with consonant sounds and an before words that start with vowel sounds. So, you'd write that someone has an MBA instead of a MBA, because even though MBA starts with m, which is a consonant, it starts with the sound of the vowel e--MBA.

3. It's incorrect to answer the question "How are you?" with the statement "I'm good." Wrong!:
Am is a linking verb and linking verbs should be modified by adjectives such as good. Because well can also act as an adjective, it's also fine to answer "I'm well," but some grammarians believe "I'm well" should be used to talk about your health and not your general disposition.

2. You shouldn't split infinitives. Wrong!:
Nearly all grammarians want to boldly tell you it's OK to split infinitives. An infinitive is a two-word form of a verb. An example is "to tell." In a split infinitive, another word separates the two parts of the verb. "To boldly tell" is a split infinitive because boldly separates to from tell.

1. You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition. Wrong!:
You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition when the sentence would mean the same thing if you left off the preposition. That means "Where are you at?" is wrong because "Where are you?" means the same thing. But there are many sentences where the final preposition is part of a phrasal verb or is necessary to keep from making stuffy, stilted sentences: I'm going to throw up, and what are you waiting for are just a few examples.
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