Vague ramblings

Infinitive improbability drive

Posted in Musing by Ian Cundell on 3 September, 2006

Before last week I had never noticed that The Times has a blanket ban on the split infinitive enshrined in its Style Guide. Since I worked for The Times (albeit not for very long) I’m guessing I should have spotted this. But let’s not dwell on that.

Part of me is surprised at the ban and part of me thinks “What do you expect?”. HW Fowler published his now eponymous usage guide in 1926, but had already published his sane, common-sense and definitive essay on the split infinitive before, yet still The Thunderer holds a futile line.

Yet mostly I am reassured. The policy may be wrong – flat out, bug-bonkers, wrong – but it is a constant. The Times is owned by an uncultured Aussie who gave up his nationhood in pursuit of wealth and power and has never shown any sense of history.

Somewhere in his empire, at least, a line is being firmly held.

On a vaguely related note, this is rather cool of The Telegraph.

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