Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Faux Faux Pas

When we think fashion faux pas, we think white after Labor Day, socks with sandals, and fanny packs.

When we think relationship faux pas, we think dating a friend’s ex and having sex with heavily tattooed women with Nazi fetishes on your couch whilst married to an Oscar-winning actress.

And, apparently, when we think grammar faux pas, we think split infinitive.

I was alerted to the split infinitive as thee quintessential grammar error only after I had begun teaching. When people find out my profession, they often admit woefully to their habit of splitting infinitives.

To avoid getting too technical, an infinitive is the to form of a verb:

In Europe, it’s considered a faux pas to ask about one's personal wealth, possessions or success in business.

And, a split infinitive is when you split the infinitive with an adverb:

In America, it’s customary to only ask those things.

To be honest, like wearing white after Labor Day, I never really understood why the split infinitive was such a big deal. But, to preserve my grammatical reputation, I would agree: “Yeah, those damn split infinitives!”

Well, it turns out I was right. About both. Apparently, it’s acceptable to wear white after Labor Day and to split infinitives.

What would really be convenient is if the fanny pack could be considered acceptable. Imagine how nice it would be to not have to lug around a purse. LV and Rhi Rhi have given it a go.

What do you think?


3 comments:

Talli Roland said...

Oh, ugh. Split infinitives. They always creep into my work somehow! I'm not sure about this rule anymore, actually. Sometimes it just makes writing seem awkward to me... but then, I'm not the grammar expert!

Jen said...

Yikes!!! stupid split infinitives! I'm with Talli on this one, I'm in no way a grammar expert but it does make writing awkward at times!

Hmm the fanny pack? Yeah I don't think that'll ever go back in style, at least not in my book!

Wendy Ramer said...

To boldly go where no man has gone before...

My husband is a trekky nerd. And if they can use split infinitives, who am I to stupidly question them?