It’s important to read what the experts have to say about grammar and style. It’s not important to follow their rules slavishly.
Which is better, clear writing that violates the rules or confusing writing that obeys them?
Strunk and White’s Elements of Style is the best grammar book I ever read. It’s the only one I ever read all the way through. I hate grammar books. Any other grammar book I’ve tried was like reading a dictionary. Most of what I knew about grammar and style before reading Strunk and White came from reading other writers. If you read enough, you can pick it up.
How important is it to understand the rules of grammar and style?
There is no great value in being able to ace an exam on the subject. On the other hand, there is value in being able to read a sentence and know whether it is good.
The Elements of Style says it is important to know the rules first and then to know when to break them. The book is 100 years old now and still the only grammar book you will ever need. I’m not trying to sell you the book. There are free pdfs of the original available online. I buy a hard copy of the Strunk and White version every few years, read it, and pass it on thinking I won’t read it again. Someday I’ll learn to hang on to it.
Article by Ivan Izo.