Letter: High-flyer fails ancient test of split infinitive

Click to follow
The Independent Online
DAVID PASCALL believes he knows what standard English is ('High-flyer's high standards', 13 September). However, he fails the split-infinitive test: all scholarly discussion (at least since Fowler's The King's English) has concluded that split infinitives are stylistic aberrations. There is nothing 'incorrect' about them.

Mr Pascall's conviction that we all know what constitutes standard English is factually wrong. The 'standard' variety of any language is a matter of dispute.

He claims that ' 'He done it' is speaking English incorrectly'. Yet in those numerous dialects in which 'done' is the past tense of 'do', 'he done it' is the only grammatically correct way to express this thought.

While people like this have influence over education policy, our children will be stuffed full of ideologically motivated and dangerously divisive nonsense.

Andrew Spencer

Colchester, Essex