Thursday, 28 June 2012

Split Infinitive Correction Syndrome

One danger of going on about things like "double is" is that people who don't really follow closely might over-react and start correcting perfectly grammatical (dare I say? Why not, it's my blog) examples like "What it is [,] is a matter of grammar", or similar. On the net and in the press you can read lots of complaints by self-appointed prescriptivists about split infinitives. As you will agree, dear reader, this is a foolish cause as English infinitives have been split by many of the best writers: sometimes it's more elegant not to split, sometimes better to boldly go for it. Not only this but sometimes these deluded souls mistake phrasal verbs for infinitives and berate even distinguished linguists for splitting them up (splitting up them?). It's a dangerous thing to write about language at all. Think I'll go and lie down again.

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