Put Some Sugar on Your English

“Language is flexible”. That is the sentence you are told when you first start learning a language. After this sentence, you just stop asking such kind of questions: “hy can’t we say ‘goed’ instead of ‘went’? Why do we accord the subject with the verb when there is COD in passé composé? Yes, language has many exceptions. It is something alive and the rules, the usages change in time. When you look at one of the sonnets of Shakespeare, you may need not translation but interpretation. Do not go that far… When you read a book published 50-70 years ago, you find many words or grammer rules that we do not use anymore. English has still been changing. As translators, we can behave differently in this situation. If you are translating a book, it is quite OK if you follow the advices below. They may put some sugar on your translation! However, when it comes to technical, legal or medical translation we should not force the borders of the language that much. Anyway… Erik Decker points this issue out with his article titled “5 writing rules you’re allowed to break”. Here are the parts that I find interesting. You can – as usual- read the whole text by clicking the link at the bottom. Enjoy!

Whatever the reason, you can stop:

1. You can end your sentences with a preposition.

The basic rule is that if you can remove a preposition and the sentence still works, you shouldn’t use the preposition. But if you remove it, and the sentence changes, you should leave the preposition at the end.

OK: What did you step in?
Not OK: Where is it at?

2. You can start a sentence with andbut, or or.

It may not be completely accepted in business writing, but I foresee that hurdle breaking down as more business people speak that way.

Besides, it looks pretty cool. And dramatic. And punchy. And intense.

3. You don’t have to start with the dependent clause first.

Even though you might want the important information at the front of the sentence, our teachers told us to put the dependent clause first.

You don’t have to do that anymore.

4. You can use incomplete sentences.

Though you don’t want to make that a regular habit, stylistically it doesn’t hurt to do it once in a while.

5. A sentence does not always contain a subject, a verb, and an object. A paragraph does not always contain three to five sentences.

Journalists violate this rule all the time.

Because it’s a dumb rule. And untrue.

For the rest of the article, click here.


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