View Single Post
Old 08 October 2014, 12:18 AM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Join Date: 14 November 2003
Location: Schenectady, NY
Posts: 1,372

Henry Fowler, in his Dictionary of Modern English Usage (written in 1926) said that authors should keep little silver axes for the sole purpose of splitting infinitives. Fowler was quite conservative about language, so if he's approving of it, there's no reason to object to it. The only warning any language scholar has made about it in the past 60 years is not to split them awkwardly.

Any writer will tell you that the passive voice is a useful tool in the writing toolkit. The warning was for using it to obscure guilt ("Mistakes were made") and the fact that the active voice is more direct and usually stronger -- but there are times when you don't want to be direct.

The other big bugaboo of English "experts" -- ending a sentence with a preposition -- has some validity (*He is talking to.). However, it's very hard to find any examples of this. The "examples" given are all where there is no preposition at the end of a sentence, but rather the particle of a verb. There are many two- and three-word verbs in English (e.g., to put, to put up, to put up with) whose meanings change due to the particles added. Nearly all examples of this involve multiple word verbs.
Reply With Quote