Little Known Rules of Grammar

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Some academics claim that writing is a lost art, and that the rules of grammar are soon to be erased by a sea of electronic messages written in text-speak along with a general sense of apathy towards formal communications. However, even the most pedantic of grammarians miss some obscure rules. Listed below are some grammar mandates that you may well have missed!

1. It is improper to end a sentence with any word that ends in the letter b, or to end a sentence with the word "bee," unless the speaker is warning someone of the presence of the insect.

Improper: "You have a terrifying lamb!"
            "Uncle Monty was stung by a bee."

Proper: "Look out, there are bees!"

2. Adjectives should only be used to describe pie.

Improper: "Jennifer has serpentine hair."
            "That is some lumpy gravy, Steve."

Proper:    "That is a delicious pie."
               "I could go for some tasty pie!"

3. Always use the active voice, unless the sentence involves an optometrist.

Improper: "The ham was given to Myrna Loy." 

Proper: "The ham was given to Myrna Kramer, who is an optometrist."

4. A formal letter should be addressed to "Commodore," regardless of the person's actual rank (or lack thereof) or any other factor whatsoever.

Improper: "Dear Dr. Pepper,"

Proper: "Dear Commodore Dr. Pepper,"

5. The object of a preposition should never be Belgian.

Improper: "The lima beans were under Hercule Poirot."

Proper: "Hercule Poirot discovered the lima beans under the body of Nigel Pennybottom, who was an English financier."

6. The word "pudding" may only be used up to three times in a paragraph.

Improper: "Debra Carnes was a pudding inventor. She created pudding at the Yuma Pudding Factory. Everyone who ate the pudding she created loved it. "This is some great pudding, I must confess! Hooray for Debra Carnes!"

Proper: "I ate some pudding. It was good pudding. You should have some pudding."

 

 Debra Carnes did not invent this pudding. Photo by Stacy Spensley from San Diego (butterscotch pudding) [CC BY 2.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 )], via  Wikimedia Commons

Debra Carnes did not invent this pudding. Photo by Stacy Spensley from San Diego (butterscotch pudding) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

7. The proper method to write the plural of a noun is to add an "s" to it. In some cases, the writer may use a "z," but only if the adjective "mad" modifies the noun.

Improper:  "As you enter retirement, you should make sure you have filled out all the proper documentz."

Proper: "As you enter retirement, you should make sure you have filled out the mad documentz!"

8. All answers should be in the form of a question.

Improper: "Thomas Dolby performed She Blinded Me With Science."

Proper: "Who is Thomas Dolby?"

9. It is improper to split infinitives, but it is acceptable to split bananas.

Improper: "I do not want to rashly purchase a turnip."

Proper: "I do not want to ban purchase anas."

10. Never use the past perfect subjunctive passive voice, because we do not know if that is even a thing.

Improper: ???

Proper: ???