Spooky Syntax: Grammar Ghosts

Posted on Oct 11, 2017

Halloween is all about the spooky, the creepy, and the downright scary. Usually, that means the stuff that nightmares are made of, but sometimes, the English language can be pretty terrifying too.

Spooky Image

Take a look at the grammar rules below. They’re so horrifyingly obsolete, they should be buried six feet below the ground!

  1. Thou Shalt Not Start Sentences with Conjunctions

    Regardless of how natural it may seem to start a sentence with and, but, or so, we still can’t do it without being clocked by the grammar police. Don’t fret though. You can get away with using it once in a while, just not all the time.

  2. Apostrophe Apocalypse

    In case you missed the memo, the apostrophe plus s (’s) combo has more purpose than indicating possession. It’s also added at the end of acronyms to indicate plurality (e.g., TV’s, DVD’s, PDF’s). However, it’s more common nowadays to just add s at the end of the acronym (e.g., TVs, DVDs, PDFs). Lucky that most style books do away with the apostrophe!

  3. He-Monster

    Most monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster are male, but to use he as the generic pronoun is getting really old. Monsters come in all genders, shapes, and sizes. Even the dictionary has adopted the singular use of they. Get with the times, people!

  4. Me or I? Oh My!

    While the use of I in the predicate is technically not a grammar error, that form is nearly as ancient as Dracula. So unless you’re wearing a cape and entering a stage, opt for “it is me” instead of “it is I.”

  5. The Curse of the Split Infinitive

    Uptight grammarians may be annoyed at Star Trek for popularizing a quote with a split infinitive, but you have to admit, “To boldly go where no man has gone before” sounds a lot more dramatic. Sometimes, it sounds a lot more natural too.

Got any grammar rules that you feel are too old to (still) be true? Share your thoughts and shoot us a message! This Halloween season, we’re highlighting the unlikely horrors of language and literature. Watch out for more on our blog!


Disclaimer: Image is not ours. Credit to the owner.

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