Yes, there are plenty of grammar “rules” that your grade-school teachers may have taught you, but that you can ignore because language changes over time. (And also because following said rules to the letter may make you sound absolutely ridiculous. Trust your ears, folks.)
Here’s an example:
In your own usage, how should you decide whether it’s a rule you should follow? Well, if you do what’s supposed to be right, and it sounds wrong or just hopelessly stilted, that’s one indication that you may be following the letter of the law but ignoring the spirit of the language. (As the old joke goes, that is something up with which we should not put.)
“RT @citrixbuckeye: Sportswriters compose useless dribble anymore. Especially @SI_PeterKing … C’mon. Rip me literately. It’s “drivel.”—Twitter of Peter King, senior NFL writer at Sports Illustrated [King’s reply is after the ellipsis]
English is a screwy language. There’s just no logic to it. Why is daughter pronounced daw-ter, but laughter not law-ter? How can though, through, and tough look so similar and yet sound so different? Why does I come before E except after C? What’s so effing SPECIAL about C?
This is the reason that people who speak more sensible languages approach English with stumbling trepidation. English is insane. It has the capacity to confuse even the smartest of its native speakers—including scientists, engineers, and company presidents—especially when it has to be put down on paper.
This is a useful reference list for common mistakes like you’re/your, it’s/its, and their/they’re/there. And yes, the English language is maddeningly difficult to learn because of its idiosyncrasies. But I’d be lying if I said I agreed with the title; as we like to say here at The Grammar Nazi, folks, it is not that fucking hard.
Oh, and according to Merriam-Webster, “ahold” is a word (though Dictionary.com calls its usage “informal” — it seems to be one of those words that arrived at legitimacy after an extended period of casual use).
“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”—James Nicoll (via dailymeh) (via inky)