Never start a sentence with a conjunction. Never end a sentence with a preposition. How many times have you heard these and similar refrains?
Some find a certain comfort in such absolutes because correcting the problem is generally easy — they see one of these errors, and they fix it. But rigidity can be stifling, especially when the reasoning behind it is “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Does that mean writers can just make up their own rules as they go along? Of course not. But questioning the basis for rules serves two purposes: (1) It increases understanding of the rules and their application, and (2) it allows for evolution of the language.