Letter: Issues of write and wrong

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Letter: Issues of write and wrong

Sir: Your report on the wayward grammar of school inspectors (19 August) faults them for subject-verb agreement, citing the solecism "attainment and progress is good". But there is nothing wrong with putting a singular verb after plural subjects, if those subjects can be taken as a single idea - you would not say, for instance, "Tarring and feathering are too good a punishment for him."

As for the fuss about the apostrophe, why dont we just get rid of it? Like the French circumflex, it is merely decorative; after all, we manage perfectly well without it in speech.

And when are you guys going to give up your struggle against the "split infinitive"? There is, strictly speaking, no infinitive in English (merely a construct of "to" plus verb) and therefore nothing to be split. But I must say its fun to watch y'all pretzeling your prose to come up with such gems as "a detailed discussion of how safely to explore their sexuality".


Palo Alto