Some rules are rules. Not meant to be broken. Others are more like etiquette or Sunday best. When was the last time you wore Sunday best? That’s because society has changed in the half-century (or however long) you’ve been alive.
When was the last time you split an infinitive, misspoke “you and I” for “you and me,” ended a sentence with a preposition or some form of the verb to be, shifted from singular to plural within the subject and then created your own subject-verb disagreement? Not that anyone would notice. It’s a casual world out there.
People—most people, like you and me, regular folk—recognize that a more casual style does not necessarily mean disrespect for the occasion. Our tastes have changed along with our expectations. Which is not to say that there are no occasions for dressing up in your finest finery. But even then, breaking the rules is part of what makes dressing up fun.
The whole point of communicating, after all, is to connect with someone. That’s a rule to keep. And to support that effort, use grammars and other conventions as tools, not rules.
Watch the Oscars to see how “real” it is to be perfectly dressed up. Also recommended: ice-cold beer straight out of the bottle.
- Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses