5 ways to break the writing rules

Most of the time, sticking the the accepting guidelines for grammar, usage and punctuation is the way to go, but very occasionally, it’s OK to toss the rulebook.

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Every few months at my house, we have “do what you want night.” I let my kids break the house rules and have an evening of fun and frivolity. “Yes, you can have popcorn for dinner, you can eat it in front of the TV, you don’t have to take a bath, and you can stay up as late as you want.” Sometimes, it’s good to take a break from following and enforcing the rules.

The same could be said for the rules of writing. Writers and editors frequently enforce style, grammar, spelling and punctuation rules at our companies or for our clients. Occasionally, to achieve the desired effect in our writing, it’s necessary to disregard those same rules. Here are a few to start with:

1. Start a sentence with “and.” Though it is often frowned upon, there is no grammar rule in any stylebook or usage manual that I have read that prevents writers from starting a sentence with a conjunction. So it’s okay to start a sentence with “and,” “but,” or any other conjunction. And according to the Chicago Manual of Style … “a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions.”

2. Use nouns as verbs.

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