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10 Wrong Grammar Rules Everyone Knows


5
Not Really My Style
Hey Vampire Weekend, this lady clearly cares about the Oxford comma and other matters of style. darkbird77/iStock/Thinkstock
Hey Vampire Weekend, this lady clearly cares about the Oxford comma and other matters of style. darkbird77/iStock/Thinkstock

In the middle of our list, we must address a more universal issue than simply how to use "hopefully" or sentence-starting conjunctions. As we've said, English grammar rules are unruly. While we (mostly) agree to follow a (mostly) set list of how to write or speak, we can't discount the myriad exceptions.

Even more troubling: sometimes the exceptions are even accepted and standardized, becoming ... rules. How many times have you fought tooth and nail to prove that correct usage calls for the Oxford (or serial) comma? That's the one that puts a comma after every item in a list, including the one before "and."

We hope never. Surely there's something on TV you could watch instead of picking grammar fights. But it's not just a waste of time; it also isn't wrong. The Chicago Manual of Style (which is commonly used in academics and publishing) says serial all the way, but the Associated Press Stylebook (used in journalism or Web copy) says to take that final comma out.

The point is that sometimes we confuse "grammar rules" with the style we prefer. If you want to make a scene with someone about their usage, just make sure you're not simply imposing your personal favorite on your adversary.


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