Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.
Two Grammar NO-NOs that are Myths!
posted by Ed Farber on May 20, 2013

Most of us writers remember at least two grammatical errors we were told never to commit. One was: don’t end a sentence with a preposition. The other was: never split an infinitive.

In an interesting article in the Smithsonian (Feb. 2013) authors Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellarman, both former New York Times editors and bloggers at Grammarphobia.com, say that these two “rules” are bogus, both pushed by over-zealous Latin scholars who wanted to reshape English to conform to Latin.

I’ve been guilty of splitting infinitives and felt guilty about doing it. But the split infinitive always sounded more natural to me than the so-called correct way. The authors use the example "to boldly go” (made famous in Star Trek) as an example. They explain that the word “to” isn’t part of the infinitive, so there is nothing to split. It’s correct either way: to boldly go or to go boldly. What a relief. I no longer feel guilty.

And it’s OK to end a sentence with a preposition as well as start a sentence with a conjunction as I just did. So free yourself from guilt and go ahead and split infinitives. And end sentences with a preposition or start one with a conjunction.

If it sounds better that way, do it and bogus grammar rules be damned!

 



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