Attempting to ignore my ill-health, it’s time for my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day.
January 4th Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?
As there are a few rules that I wish I’d never heard, it seems easiest to start with the first one I broke.
At school in the 1960s and 1970s, my teachers tried hard to teach me, and other students, not to split our infinitives, ever. I never felt that these teachers gave me a reasonable explanation, so when the split infinitive worked, I insisted that I had the right, in the words of Star Trek “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” This usage seemed appropriate as many of my earliest short story attempts were SF.
I felt justified in breaking this cardinal rule when I later heard that the first English Grammar used Latin Grammars as its basis – the Latin infinitive is one word so can’t be split. To my mind, that explained why my teachers, most of them trained in Latin, stuck to the rule.
I have since discovered that although many authorities quote the Latin argument, others point to different 19th-century grammarians for the rule’s origin. Check out these links if you want to know more about split infinitives:
As for me, I learned as a teenager that there were writing rules that needed questioning, and fifty years later nothing has changed, and I welcome excuses to break rules.
The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.
Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
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Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.