- The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
- To boldly go is rhythmically very neat. The Star Trek scriptwriter hasn't been linguistically bold at all.
- David Crystal in Who Cares About English Usage
- The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; and (5) those who know and distinguish....
- Fowler's Modern English Usage, second edition, p 579
- [A speaker who uses a multiple negative] spreads as it were a thin layer of negative colouring over the whole sentence instead of confining it to a single place.
- The name is misleading, for the preposition to no more belongs to the infinitive as a necessary part of it, than the definite article belongs to the substantive, and no one would think of calling the good man a split substantive.
- Otto Jespersen, referring to split infinitives, in Essentials of English Grammar
- English has a grammar of great simplicity and flexibility.
- The Story of English, p 47
- Fussing about split infinitives is one of the more tiresome pastimes invented by nineteenth century grammarians.
- Barbara Strang in Modern English Structure
British vs. American English
- It is a misfortune for Anglo-American friendship that the two countries are supposed to have a common language. A Frenchman in America is not expected to talk like an American, but an Englishman speaking his mother tongue is thought to be affected and giving himself airs. Or else he is taken for a German or a Dutchman, and is complemented on his grammatical mastery of the language of another nation.
- Bertrand Russell, "Can Americans and Britons Be Friends?", Saturday Evening Post, 3 June 1944
- The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.
- George Bernard Shaw, widely attributed beginning in the 1940s, e.g. Reader’s Digest (November 1942). Not found in his published works.
- Variant: The English and the Americans are two peoples divided by a common language.
- We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.
- Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost (1887)
Last modified on 27 May 2013, at 07:50↑Jump back a section