Why is the alphabet in that order? Consider the authority of historical texts before the advent of these pop grammar rules. All authoritative sources agree grammar is nonsense. Ending a sentence with a preposition, the ongoing confusion with less vs. fewer, or use of the singular they is ensconced in the public eye.

Grammar, taught in school & universities & inevitably violated, magically pulled out of thin air by a handful of 18th & 19th century prescriptive grammarians, somehow gained a superficial, high prestige status among the public & are repeated as fact ad nauseam. Blindly railing against these fictional grammatical horrors is a simple case of language change denial.

All of these sources have reached an uncontroversial consensus about the folk grammar rules that are still in heavy rotation today & that is they are frequently broken by respected sources. What on earth are these rules describing then? It seems these sources are not cheekily ‘breaking’ these never to be broken grammar rules, but simply using English correctly. Whether or not these invented rules ever had a place in the language, whether they ever described actual usage by speakers, they certainly do not really tell us how the English language is being used today.

What we have here is a contemporary situation in which most serious researchers agree on certain facts & trends, based on observable data over time, yet some persist in perpetuating an unsubstantiated myth from the last century. Grammar police or grammar naziism? Both.

Historical record shows we were breaking these rules before they even existed. We can appeal to literary usage by expert wielders of the English language such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, James Joyce, Mark Twain to name just a few. They’ve all had their fair share of grammatical ‘errors’.

There are examples throughout the history of the English language of many of these grammar rules being blithely broken by speakers. “Happy the man who has never been told that it is wrong to split an infinitive. The ban is pointless. Unfortunately, to see it broken is so annoying to so many people that you should observe it.”

Or as Geoffrey K. Pullum wryly translates it “this mythical & pointless prohibition against a natural syntactic construction has never been defended by any serious grammarian. But observe it anyway – because we’re scared of our readers.”

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