[Gllug] Schoolboy Grammar

John G Walker johngeoffreywalker at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Mar 29 13:19:27 UTC 2012

On Thu, 29 Mar 2012 10:49:48 +0100 Stuart Sears <stuart at sjsears.com>

>  On Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:21:52 +0100, John G Walker wrote:
> > On Wed, 28 Mar 2012 13:57:53 +0100 Stuart Sears <stuart at sjsears.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> >>  English grammar is really very weird anyway, as it appears to have
> >> been an attempt to apply the niceties of Latin grammar to a 
> >> non-latin
> >>  language.
> >
> > One of my bugbears is the "you cna't end a sentence in a
> > preposition" nonsense. This is true in Latin but it's perfect okay
> > to do so in English. Fowler calls t a "modern affectation" and
> > points out that, in
> > the King James Bible, in Genesis chapter 28, I believe, God ends a
> > sentence in a preposition.
>  But the bible was written by humans and then translated into other 
>  languages by different humans.
>  (now I'm beginning a sentence with a conjunction, another of "those 
>  arguments"). Would that particular sentence have ended in a
> preposition in the original Aramaic (or whichever language it was
> written in).

The original language would have been Hebrew. But the point is not what
God said or didn't say. It's that the translators of the King James
Bible, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, unselfconsciously
ended an English sentence with a preposition. It's evidence that there
was no such rule at that point in time. It's of more recent vintage (if
such a silly piece of nonsense can be said to have a vintage).

>  As I understand it**, the general rule of thumb is
>  "You should not end a sentence with a preposition if the sentence
> would convey the same meaning with the preposition removed"

This isn't a grammatical rule, since it's prescriptive.

>  Sentences with phrasal verbs in them commonly end with a preposition.
> >>  A classic example was the 'split infinitive' silliness, which
> >>  thankfully appears to have gone away now.
> >
> > You mean "to have finally gone away"!
>  Well, perhaps. Reading it back, that particular sentence does sound
> a little off.
>  Would you care to dig out the rule that proscribes ending a sentence 
>  with 'now' ?
>  How about "which now thankfully appears to have gone away."

You've missed my point. I split an infinitive.

>  :)
>  Stuart
>  ** which of course means very little

 All the best,
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