Hey, friend, rules are rules! How could you play sports without rules? How could we live in civilized society without rules? How could we build a house without rules?
How can we communicate without rules?
A few weeks back i foolishly got involved with a Facebook argument about split infinitives. I suggested that good grammar in English requires that we NOT split infinitives. If your Grammar is a bit rusty, here's an illustration I just found in a colleague's paper:
"It behooves a university for multiple reasons to not overlook recruitment...".
Changed to "It behooves a university, for multiple reasons, not to overlook recruitment...".
Much to my surprise, a friend who earned a MA in English argued that the split-infinitive rule was a silly rule intended to make English sound better.
Now, I might expect such defensiveness from a scientist colleague, but from an English major- who teaches the subject to foreigners???? Hmmm.
It seems to me, a mere scientist, that ALL English rules are arbitrary and designed only to help us communicate more clearly. Whereas, a split infinitive doesn't make a big difference, correct spelling, commas, semicolons, and lots of other English conventions don't really contribute in a major way to communications either. Though, sometimes they do.
Q: What is Grammar? A: The difference between knowing your crap, and knowing you're crap.