[Gllug] Schoolboy Grammar

Stuart Sears stuart at sjsears.com
Thu Mar 29 18:47:13 UTC 2012

On 29/03/12 14:19, John G Walker wrote:
> On Thu, 29 Mar 2012 10:49:48 +0100 Stuart Sears <stuart at sjsears.com>
> wrote:
>>  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).

now that I can agree with.

>>  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.

Hence the phrase "rule of thumb" which tends to imply "guideline" rather
than actual hard and fast rule.

>>  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.

no, you didn't.

"to finally go"

or even

"to finally have gone"

would be splitting infinitives. Which is a daft rule to apply to english

Stuart Sears RHCA etc. "It's today!" said Piglet. "My favourite day,"
said Pooh.
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