Saturday, May 16, 2009

Love this!

As a former writer/editor, one who suffered many... inadequately well-educated individuals, I adore things like this.

When I read some of the rules for speaking and writing the English language correctly, -- as that a sentence must never end with a particle, -- and perceive how implicitly even the learned obey it, I think -- Any fool can make a rule And every fool will mind it. Henry David Thoreau
That's wonderful. Not as well known as Churchill's smackdown;

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
Any native speaker of English immediately feels the grotesque awkwardness of that. It's English, but it ain't good English. So many of the rules of "proper" English taught in school are nothing but the rules of good Latin and Greek that were imported and applied witlessly by lexicographers who were awed and enamored of the classical tongues of the educated.

Which, of course, is as clever as applying the rules of chess and bridge to football.

Do feel free to post your favorites, I adore these snarky gems.


ScottMGS said...

To egregiously - even flagrantly - split an infinitive is a crime against the English language.

Anonymous said...

The basic problem with English grammar is that is derived from Latin grammar, but English is a Germanic language--not a Romance language. Latin was considered a "perfect" language, so english grammar was made to fit Latin rules, like forcing a square peg into a round hole.

ogre said...

True enough, Anon. But (just to keep the point clear), English had--and has--its native grammar. Putting a toga on didn't make it Latinate.

ScottMGS said...

So, where, exactly, do "proper" English grammar and "native" English grammar differ? We don't have to start saying things like "theatre" and "pip, pip old chap" do we?