Monday, May 16, 2011

Hobgoblins, bugaboos and plain old myths

For the last time, YES, you can split an infinitive.

And, yes, you can start a sentence with a conjunction (see what I did there?).

And you also have every right to end a sentence with a preposition. These are not English grammar rules, people. Yes, yes, I know your fifth-grade teacher told you they were, but she was wrong.

Take the split infinitive. Your teacher told you that "To boldly go where no man has gone before" was ungrammatical, right? Wanna know why? Because in Latin (not English, mind you) the word for "to go" (the infinitive form of the verb "go") is "ire" -- one word, impossible to "split" by inserting an adverb. Just because you physically can't split an infinitive in Latin doesn't mean you shouldn't in English. Why this rule transferred over is unknown and doesn't make sense.

So, to really get the most out of your writing, split to your heart's content.