Levin's rule

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The journalist Bernard Levin (1928-2004) - a witty and stylish columnist in the Times - taught his protegée Arianna Stassinopoulos:

"You can break every grammatical and syntactical rule consciously when, and only when, you have rendered yourself incapable of breaking them unconsciously" (Levin, Bernard; quoted Guardian (Weekend) 10/10/2009 p 42 col 1; and on-line, by Richard Nordquist as 'quoted by Arianna Huffington, "Bernard Levin Remembered," Ariannaonline.com, August 17, 2004' accessed 12/10-09).

This seems an excellent statement of one of the principal rules of style: that there are no rules that cannot be broken - though the good stylist knows exactly why. Cf Orwell's Rules of style, no 6.