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  • Writer's pictureCristina Magalhães

Do you still follow these zombie grammar rules?

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Languages are always evolving, and in that process some rules become outdated. But not all of them die gracefully. A few of them tend to stick around and hunt us.

I've compiled a few grammar zombie rules that you don't have to follow no matter what someone tells you.

Don't start a sentence with a conjunction

There's no guide that mentions this rule. Just be careful with sentence fragments.

Don't finish a sentence with a preposition

When we write, the most important aspect is to be understood. And in some cases, the best option is to place the preposition at the end. If the preposition at the end makes your sentence weaker, then rephrase.

Don't use 'they' as a singular pronoun

English doesn't have a singular gender-neutral pronoun, so 'they' is used in this circumstance. This rule is now widely accepted.

Don't split infinitives

Some purists of the language say you shouldn't write something like 'I want to quickly finish this task so I can go home early'. But this structure is very common and is used by many prestigious writers.


When writing, focus on real rules and not on folklore or rules invented by one or two grammarians. If you think that your audience will consider a certain construction an error, then do your best to avoid using it. Otherwise, the most important is to communicate our message clearly.

Cristina Magalhães is an editor, proofreader and crochet tech editor who works with businesses, content writers and individuals.

She edits business documentation, marketing materials, LinkedIn profiles, CVs, cover letters and crochet patterns.

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