Far from the madding gerund …

… is the title of a book by Mark Liberman and Geoffrey K. Pullum, published in 2006.  Based on their blog Language Log, it contains items on English usage but also topics that “might provoke a good laugh or draw out a surprising and interesting fact” (2006:x). Well worth reading for anyone interested in our blog (and theirs).

Within the context of the Bridging the Unbridgeable project, I am going to do something similar: I want to to compile “narratives” on usage items, based on their history but also on what linguists, prescriptivists and the general public think about them. A good example, which I was able to draw upon for a recent paper, is the discussion on this blog on how we should see the split infinitive in relation to its overwhelming increase in usage today. (The input from readers was of course gratefully acknowledged.)

From now on, I will regularly write posts on linguistic strictures like the split infinitive and invite readers of this blog to let us have their comments. A recent post along these lines was the one on adverbial likely. This post also includes a usage poll which is trying to assess your attitude to this construction. I look forward to reading your input!

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