Rules & Exceptions: Who to Listen to
We’ve made it clear on multiple occasions that the English language is full of rules with little logic and lots of exceptions. Isn’t that a lovely combination?
There are so many experts out there whose opinions on the same delicate grammar and punctuation matters vary. So who do we listen to? Webster and Oxford don’t even spell all their words the same way. They’re both correct, though. Is one more correct than the other? That also depends on who you ask. Oh the joys of grey areas!
When you look at one school of thought vs. another, they both still come from scholars. When you compare one spelling vs. another, neither one is wrong. Your eighth grade English teacher could tell you to use an Oxford comma whereas your eleventh grade one will advise against it. Again, they’re both right.
What this comes down to is preference over correctness. One editor will use a semi colon (;) where another would use an em dash (¾).
So how do we make sense of these differing opinions that are ALL correct?
First, make sure you decide on what you feel is right and stick to it. Consistency prevails at the end of the day.
Since everything can be argued anyway, you may as well follow your instincts. If you’re writing for a client or business, let the style guide, brand book or client specifications decide for you. At least that part is easy.