Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 31, 2009


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 & condemn; (4) those who know & approve; and (5) those who know & distinguish. Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, & are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes - Francis George Fowler


Anonymous Mairead said...

Fowler was prize. I cherish my copy of his Modern English Usage (2nd Ed).

As he goes on to say in the entry you quote: 'reasons [for sneering at those who neither know nor care] are not their critics' strong points', a judgment with which I think everyone would have to agree.

You have a small error in your quotation, though, Sam: it should be credited to Henry Watson, not Francis George. As HW's dedication makes clear, the brothers planned the book together but HW had to write it alone because by then FG had died of the TB that colonised him during WWI.

March 31, 2009 11:19 AM  

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