Saturday, 12th December, 2015

Lunch Break

Once again on the topic of English, we revisit the humble comma once again.

Without making a meal of it, there’s a difference between

“Let’s eat, Grandpa”

and

“Let’s eat Grandpa”.

 

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Friday, 3rd December, 2010

To boldly go …

Here we look at the split infinitive, which produces instant apoplexy in half the population. star trek shipThe simple act of putting an adverb between the two parts of the infinitive, as in ‘to boldly go’, can bring down the wrath of the pedant (yes, I know – ludamus is probably a pedant).

Is is a grammatical solecism? Consider these points:

  • “boldly to go” doesn’t sound quite so good to the ear
  • Various authorities think that it’s not a problem (e.g., Fowler)
  • What is actually wrong with such insertions in any case?

Our humble opinion is that any changes to the language should enhance its flexibility, subtlety and diversity, and the meaning of a sentence can be altered by a pedantic insistence on always putting the adverb in the “official” place. For instance,

I was told to always pay attention in class.

I was told always to pay attention in class.

We have a nice distinction there which is useful.

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Tuesday, 8th June, 2010

The Open University Wins The Taureaumerde Prize

The Open University, educator of tens of thousands, has won Ludamus’ unofficial prize for writing wafflespeak. We quote briefly from their description of a tool called the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI):nobullhere

In very brief terms, this tool is an online inventory that provides a framework of seven dimensions of ‘learning power’ to describe malleable approaches to learning that informs reflections on ways to interact with these dimensions to the benefit of both learners and those teaching.”

For complete linguistic cowpoo, this must surely be high on the list of candidates. Unless you know better…

 

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Tuesday, 19th January, 2010

Word Order and Batty English

Here’s a nice example of word order problems:cricket bat

"The brothers, who both lived in Desborough Road, chased intruder Walid Salem, leaving him with a permanent brain injury after he was hit with a cricket bat so hard that it broke into three pieces."

(From the BBC News site at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/8468773.stm

Ludamus wonders whether a softer cricket bat would have broken into even more pieces. Still, it’s only the BBC.

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