Sunday, December 26, 2004
Robert F. Manning has published What Did You Mislearn in School Today?, 105 Tax Notes 1647 (Dec. 20, 2004), available on the Tax Analysts web site at 204 TNT 247-28. The article is part of an occasional series on language usage. Here is an excerpt:
Many years passed before we discovered that our teachers, even speaking ex cathedra, were not infallible in all matters grammatical....Some of their rules were erroneous, and others were exceptionable. Nevertheless, many writers (including more than a few tax practitioners) still follow the questionable dictates of the likes of [elementary school grammar teachers].... With all due regard for the memories of the molders of our young minds, let's take a fresh look at the stuff we learned in school and why we should unlearn some of it:
- None always takes a singular verb.
- Do not end a sentence with a preposition.
- Never split an infinitive.
- Never begin a sentence with And, But, or Because.
- Never use the passive voice.
- Never use first-person pronouns.
- Never use you to refer to your reader.
- Never use contractions.