7 months ago


PublicHouse DOUBLE

PublicHouse DOUBLE NEGATIVES SPLIT INFINITIVES “I cannot go no further…” We are told this sentence is wrong. However, many languages have double negatives. The Spaniards out there will know this; as will the Russians, the Italians, and many other nationalities. In fact, double negatives used to be standard in English. That quote at the top, “I cannot go no further”, that’s not something that I heard some kid say this morning, those words are spoken by Celia in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. A play written in the most formal, standard English of the time. Part of this is down to our old friend Lowth. He decided that as two negatives make a positive in maths, the same should be true in English. However, Maths and English have many differences. Maths nerds don’t get laid, for instance. Whereas English nerds don’t get laid, but at least we can write shit poems about it, lamenting our physical inadequacies. It is a rule perpetuated by old, bespectacled matrons who insist on playing logical word games. “you did not see nothing? Well, if nothing is what you saw then this leads to you must having seen something.” Fuck you, old lady. Life’s too short. Formal English used to be fine with double negatives, all colloquial forms of English have double negatives as it helps to add emphasis, and the use of them does not impede clarity. In fact, it is the people who quibble over these things who create confusion; and in doing so they display a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of language. I don’t care what no fucker says, double negatives are fine. 12 Splitting infinitives is when you put an adverb between to and the verb. The famous example, and apt for an issues on nerds, is the mission statement proclaimed at the start of each Star Trek episode: "To boldly go where no man has gone before." That boldly is splitting an infinitive. As you can see from reading that sentence, and from generations of nerds watching Star Trek and not being completely baffled by it, there is no real problem with splitting infinitives. This particular rule is kept alive by people who are desperate to come across as erudite but possess little or no knowledge to help them in that quest. They therefore roll out this platitude as it sounds lofty and complex. More than any other example on this list it is the one that marks out its speaker as idiotic and desperate. Just as when somebody shouts at a football match, “wow! He kicked a great goal there!” the people around him instantly understand that they are dealing with a layman. It is a simplistic rendering of a complex issue. Splitting Infinitives is fine, as long as you do not put too great a distance between them; when that happens, clarity may suffer: “to furiously and effectively, but not always happily, and certainly not romantically, masturbate.” Too much is going on there, and people may lose the thread of the sentence. “To furiously masturbate”, however, is perfectly fine. I strongly believe this.

PublicHouse DON’T END A SENTENCE WITH A PREPOSITION Prepositions deal with space and time. They create relationships between words: I passed out in the pub, I threw up on her shoes, I woke up near the docks. In school, we are taught not to leave these words dangling at the end of sentences. Why we are taught this, I have little idea. John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, pound for pound one of the greatest works of art that this nation has created, and he was just fine with dangling prepositions. If you were to follow this rule to the letter then you would end up alone, with three cats that you found on the street, eating cold baked beans out of the tin, arguing with thirteen year olds on twitter. “which draw are the condoms in?” will lead to a healthy sex life. The supposedly more grammatically correct sentence, “in which draw do you keep the condoms?” will not. Get out of my bed, Nerd. Leaving prepositions at the end of sentences very rarely affects clarity, and it is a rule we no longer need to talk about. The myth that people who went to expensive schools, wear Ralph Lauren jumpers, and talk like the queen are somehow speaking “correctly”, and everybody else is doing it wrong, is utter bullshit; anybody with a passing interest in linguistics will attest to this. Language is a continuum, and outside of mistakes that genuinely obscure or change meaning (which are very few and far between) there is no right or wrong way to speak – only what is in vogue from one time to another or one place to the next. Trust me, you’re doing just fine. In short: fuck the word nerds Jackson Palmer Assitant Editor at Public House Magazine As always, clarity is key. The next time some smug cunt who spends his time writing shit film reviews for his blog and getting hard over Studio Ghibli characters tells you that it is not, “Who do I give the Ben Wa balls to?”, but rather, “To whom do I give the Ben Wa balls?”, just pull him to one side and let him know that his life is on a path to crushing, all-consuming loneliness. 13

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