Destroy your grammar rule books!
Have you ever noticed that the worst writers are the ones with the grammar book stuck up their a-hole? They're such anal sticklers for grammar that instead of getting it right, it seems they inevitably end up making it worse. I always think about that episode of Friends where Joey makes his resume sound all impressive by using the thesaurus feature in Word....technically the meaning could be right, but it sounds like ass. That's pretty much what I'm getting at here.
Now, I think grammar rules are as necessary as the next English major, but more importantly...
Style is everything.
Bad writers just don't understand this concept. That's what makes them bad writers. Simply regurgitating some shit (oopsy!) out of Strunk and White does NOT make you a skilled writer.
I am often forced to throw around my editorial power with this very mantra in mind! My first week here I battled a 70-year old woman in data entry about double-spacing after sentences. She was HELL BENT on keeping the double-spacing, presenting me with a variety of style guides and rules (printed in the sixties, mind you) that supported her argument. Since I was new, I did my own searches and counter-attacked with a variety a sources that said, essentially, that double-spacing was old school and no one really did it anymore. (The real reason I won was because everything else coming out of our office had single-spacing and her documents needed to match).
Now, if there is any argument, I don't even look for proof anymore - I just make "an executive decision."
Like I just did 10 seconds ago. YES, I KNOW that the rule says you spell out numbers below 10. But I am still changing it from eight to 8 (for all your grammar nazis out there...don't wad your panties, it wasn't the first word in the sentence....even I am not that "stylistic"). It just made more sense...we were writing a letter to athletes dicussing scores and stats. Wouldn't you rather see "...8 players scored 50% in the last 20 minutes of the 100th Anniversary Championship Game?" Yeah, that's what I thought!
Don't even get me going about comma usage. There just needs to be one there, OK?!?!?