I loved playing soccer as a child (football to the rest of the world). Like most children learning to play, I was taught not to toe-punch the ball even though I really wanted to because I could kick it harder that way. But it was terribly inaccurate so I learned and practiced other kinds of kicks instead that gave me more control and accuracy. Once I progressed in skill, I discovered that I occasionally needed to break the rule I had learned and toe-punch the ball, although only in rare circumstances.
This is an example of learning when to break the “rules”.
Style guides fit into this category as well. They are meant to be clear and concise so they generally don’t explore alternate or nuanced options. While this helps to prevent confusion in new learners, there will likely be times as you advance when another solution is better for your situation.
Although it’s okay to simply follow best practice advice given in style guides, learning a subject deeply through practice and exercise can bring you to a new level of ability and let you master the appropriate times to break the rules, like learning when to toe-punch the ball. Remember: the people who write the “rules” are no smarter than you and possibly not even more experienced than you.
At Thinkster, we consider it our business to not only help you learn the “rules” but also to learn them deeply enough to know when to break them.
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