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Infinitives

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By JUNE CASAGRANDE | March 14, 2007
First you learn to crawl, then you learn to walk, then you learn to run (then you learn to drive five miles to the place where you like to walk or run). The same process applies to learning about split infinitives, with just as much crashing into walls and falling on your butt. First you learn that you've been doing something wrong, then you learn that it wasn't wrong in the first place, then you learn that your initial grasp of why it's not wrong was in fact wrong. For those of you on deadline for your blogs or eager to turn to the horoscopes, here's the must-know stuff about the dreaded split infinitive: Don't worry about it. Ninety-nine out of 100 language authorities agree there's nothing wrong with it. So if your energy for learning grammar is limited, this one does not belong on your priority list.
NEWS
June 15, 2005
JUNE CASAGRANDE Somewhere out there, a group of misled but well-meaning grammar prophets is spreading a sort of false gospel. They warn people against the horrors of ending sentences with prepositions. They predict gloom and doom for anyone who dares to begin a sentence with "and," "but," "so" or "because." To hear them talk, you'd think splitting an infinitive is as dangerous as splitting an atom. They all mean well -- really they do. But they're unintentionally doing harm, punishing people for trying to play by the rules.
NEWS
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | June 10, 2009
A few weeks ago, I wrote in this space: ?The key to avoiding the frightening-sounding problem known as the ?dangling participle? is to not be frightened.? Soon after, I got this e-mail from a reader named Barbara: ?June, as a former English teacher, I noticed your split infinitive in your first paragraph. I?m sure it was just a simple error, but it is one that irritates me. I hope you don?t mind.? Barbara was referring to the phrase ?to not be,? which places ?not? right between the ?
NEWS
By: JUNE CASAGRANDE | September 7, 2005
English is a cruel language. Hyphenation rules mean that a water-skier water-skis on water skis. The abbreviated version of "until" is not "'til" but the bizarrely spelled and unpunctuated "till." And try explaining to any poor soul struggling to learn English the logic behind the pronunciation of "through," "though" and "throw." But such random acts of cruelty don't mean that the whole system is viciously, homicidally, reality-TV-caliber cruel. Sometimes the language can be quite forgiving, and that's when it's really cruel.
NEWS
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | January 10, 2007
blr-aword10 If we could, we'd categorize everything in terms of dog people vs. cat people, liberal vs. conservative, Rosie vs. Donald. I used to shun such distinctions, especially the idea that the population can be divided into cat people and dog people. Then I got four cats. Now I can say with 100% certainty that I'm a dog person.
NEWS
April 12, 2006
I try to avoid grammar jargon in this column. And, as you might guess, one of three possible explanations applies. Either 1. I'm too modest to flaunt my dazzling expertise. 2. I don't want to turn off readers with a lot of mumbo jumbo. Or, 3. I don't know anywhere near as much about this stuff as I should and I'd rather not call attention to this fact. Take your pick. But sometimes knowing a little jargon is actually helpful. For example, consider the word "walking" in the sentence, "Walking is great exercise."
ENTERTAINMENT
August 22, 2007
It’s a tremendous feeling when the pieces come together. And that’s precisely the combination of acting and script that yield terrific results in “Trying” by Joanna McClelland Glass at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. Sarah Schorr (Rebecca Mozo) is a young woman from Saskatchewan, Canada, who moves to Washington, D.C., and takes a position as secretary to Francis Biddle (Alan Mandell). Biddle is a career civil servant with a history of various cabinet posts and presidential appointments, among them attorney general and chief American judge of the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. The story takes place in 1967 when Judge Biddle is age 81 and not in the best physical or mental condition.
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NEWS
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | June 10, 2009
A few weeks ago, I wrote in this space: ?The key to avoiding the frightening-sounding problem known as the ?dangling participle? is to not be frightened.? Soon after, I got this e-mail from a reader named Barbara: ?June, as a former English teacher, I noticed your split infinitive in your first paragraph. I?m sure it was just a simple error, but it is one that irritates me. I hope you don?t mind.? Barbara was referring to the phrase ?to not be,? which places ?not? right between the ?
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NEWS
By JUNE CASAGRANDE | November 12, 2008
First you learn to crawl, then you learn to walk, then you learn to run (then you learn to drive five miles to the place where you like to walk or run). The same process applies to learning about split infinitives, with just as much crashing into walls and falling on your butt. First you learn that you've been doing something wrong, then you learn that it wasn't wrong in the first place, then you learn that your initial grasp of why it's not wrong was in fact wrong. For those of you on deadline for your blogs or eager to turn to the horoscopes, here's the must-know stuff about the dreaded split infinitive: Don't worry about it. Ninety-nine out of 100 language authorities agree there's nothing wrong with it. So if your energy for learning grammar is limited, this one does not belong on your priority list.
NEWS
June 15, 2005
JUNE CASAGRANDE Somewhere out there, a group of misled but well-meaning grammar prophets is spreading a sort of false gospel. They warn people against the horrors of ending sentences with prepositions. They predict gloom and doom for anyone who dares to begin a sentence with "and," "but," "so" or "because." To hear them talk, you'd think splitting an infinitive is as dangerous as splitting an atom. They all mean well -- really they do. But they're unintentionally doing harm, punishing people for trying to play by the rules.
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