An edited version of the letter below was published in The Australian of Thursday 24 August 2017. It was written in response to a letter which had taken one of the paper's journalists to task for splitting an infinitive. Underlined sections were deleted and bracketed ones inserted. The paper's heading was "Split on grammar".
Split infinitives and other grammatical nonsense
Steven Adams (Letters, 23/8) refers negatively to a split infinitive in the Inquirer article "Teaching the teachers" (22/8). While no doubt well-intentioned, his comment is inappropriate.
When descriptions of the grammar of English were first written, Latin had a privileged position in universities, the church and the law. Efforts were therefore made to apply the grammatical structures of Latin to English. Some worked OK, others not so much.
In Latin, as in many modern languages like French and German, the infinitive form of the verb is a single word so it cannot be "split". Often, to get the desired shade of meaning in English, an adverb needs to be deployed immediately before the main verb.
There are another two (other) of the so-called rules of traditional grammar which are also nonsense. These are the prohibitions against beginning sentences with conjunctions or ending them with prepositions.
The Inquirer piece did contain a grammatical error, or more generously a typo, but it did not relate to the use of the infinitive.
Former president, Australian Association for the Teaching of English
Essential English CIA 2023
In response to requests from members, ETAQ is organising a Community of Practice to help with preparation for the Common Internal Assessment on Saturday 18 February 2023. We are excited to announce Lisa Smith, QCAA, will be providing the keynote address which will be live-streamed. If you have some experience with this subject and the...
March seminar 2023
Our first major event for 2023 will be the March seminar to be held on Saturday 4 March. “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” – Albert Einstein We begin 2023’s ‘Seasons of Learning’ program with a (belated) Summer shindig. So much of the recent discour...
Cairns High Spectacular
Catherine Hicks will deliver a presentation on Year 10 literature as an elective. This will be followed by a group of Cairns High School teachers discussing the nuances of the Year 7 curriculum.
Registrations will open in February 2023.
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” – F. Scott Fitzgerald Autumn marks a time of transition, and we are set to embark on a critical change across Queensland with the implementation of Australian Curriculum v9.0 over the next few years. This Masterclass will help to set the agenda for this transformati...
State Conference 2023
State Conference in 2023 will be held on 19 August 2023.
Further details later
This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.
ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.
I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.Read All