because iconoclast

I love that the word “because” has become a preposition. “I was late for work because traffic.” I love this fact not so much because I’ll use it in my writing (because unlikely) but because it is a clear sign of the evolution of our language. The construct even has a name: “because NOUN.”

I make no secret of my war with grammar Nazis. Greater minds than mine have called grammar a tool, not a rule. I assert that creative writers are given a free pass on grammar (and punctuation and even spelling) if their writing calls for it. As long as the message is getting through (or not getting through if that’s the intent), then grammar is optional.

Of course if you’re writing technical manuals (which I did for years) or legal contracts (which I did for years) or magazine articles (which I did for years) or even high school term papers (which I did for years), then the “rules” of grammar are necessary to achieve the lingua franca.

But if your thang is creative writing, then help us evolve the language. Be out front and create new styles, new words, new constructions. Evolve “teh grammar.” Because internet, I understand.

In a way, it’s pathetic that some will insist that certain standards of grammar (that prevailed usually in the generation just before theirs) are fixed or at their finest and that any deviation is suspect or trendy or just plain wrong. Because myopia.

I suspect that the because NOUN construct is merely trendy and won’t make its way into standard usage, though the generation after mine seems to be its greatest user.

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One Comment on “because iconoclast”


  1. I love it as a title. “Because iconoclast.” In my worldview, blogs have more informal rules about grammar than some creative writing. In dialogue, of course, I think people should be as ungrammatical as is believable. I think the “because noun” would irritate me in exposition unless it were used more poetically, because of sound, on purpose. It works nicely as a refrain in this post.

    I got into an argument on Facebook about putting two spaces after a period. “My high school teacher told me to!” seemed to be the main argument. “But it’s a convention from typewriter days when font was monospaced!” was mine.


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