Picture the scene:
You and a friend are having lunch by the water. Their phone rings. They chat for a moment, hang up, and turn to you and tell you it was Bob.
If you’re nosy, you ask a question.
“What did he . . . ” What?
Aver? Shout? Insist? Snarl?
… more … ““There are only two possible dialog tags,” he said.”
“That” vs. “which.”
Punctuation inside or outside the quotes or parentheses?
One space or two after a period?
Rules regarding writing are nearly infinite. The Chicago Manual of Style outweighs my youngest child (and, perhaps, my first car.)
Rules are important.
Except when they’re not.
And that’s why principles trump rules.
If you are writing a technical manual, legislation, or medical procedures, you should adhere strictly to the rules.
If you’re writing for your own fans, your chosen audience, it’s far more important to consistently follow a set of principles. … more … “Forget Rules, Follow Principles”