Since some new readers have drifted my way, I thought it might be useful to summarize some of the grammar and usage points that crop up regularly in these parts, particularly the bogus rules and superstitions, sometimes called “zombie rules,” that distract people from real editing.

If you want to dissent from any of these points, go ahead. But I will be ready for you. 


Fully exploded

Unless you are working for an uncommonly primitive and obtuse outfit, or your employer has slipped beyond ratiocination, you should not be observing any of these long-discredited superstitions:

No prepositions at the end of sentences.

No split infinitives.

No sentences that begin with the conjunctions and, but, and or.

No “split verbs” (no adverb between auxiliary and main verb).

No contractions.

No use of between with more than two persons or objects.

No beginning a sentence with because.

No use of decimate apart from “reducing by one-tenth.”


Not yet dead

Some operations cling to these pointless time-wasters:  

Observing a distinction between since and because (reserving since for the temporal).

Observing a distinction between over and more than (reserving over for the spatial).

Observing a distinction between like and such as.

Observing a distinction between convince and persuade.