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Proof reader required by the Home Office!

Discussion in 'England & Wales BMD registers' started by A. Muse, Dec 10, 2021.

  1. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I prefer 'electronically send' as opposed to 'send electronically.

    the registrar will be able to electronically send the disposal document authorising the cremation/burial to take place to the person effecting the disposal of the body,

    no doubt somebody will want to put commas in but a lawyer would not.
  2. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    I'm old enough to want to avoid split infinitives, even though they are now officially accepted. ;)
  3. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    What is a split infinitive?:(:rolleyes:;) I never could understand why we had to break up perfectly good sentences in English lessons and say what was a noun or a verb or other weird descriptions. You don't learn to speak a language that way, and you don't need to know what is what, as long as the person you are communicating with understands. Which brings me back to the subject of the thread CLARITY and lack of confusion.
  4. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Superstar

    An infinitive is the form of a verb without a subject, i.e." to send" . A split infinitive has an adverb separating "to" and "send" as in "to electronically send". A famous example of a split infinitive comes from Star Trek "to boldly go".
    You are right in saying that clarity is of paramount importance, and that is no doubt why split infinitives are now officially accepted as being "correct" English as it makes no difference to the meaning of what is being said.
    I'm not sure why it was considered grammatically incorrect to split an infinitive. Perhaps someone even more obsessed with correct grammar than I am can throw a light on the subject?
  5. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I would always turn to 'Fowler'* for such answers and here -found on line - is what he had to say on the subject of split infinitives...

    "When a word admits of two constructions, to use both may not be positively incorrect, but is generally as ugly as to drive a horse and mule in double harness". He then summed up by saying the English-speaking world may be divided into:

    #1 those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is;
    #2 those who do not know but care very much;
    #3 those who know and condemn;
    #4 those who know and approve;
    #5 those who know and distinguish"

    The aim being to convert to the fifth category anyone included in the first four...

    *Fowlers Dictionary of Modern English Usage now in its 4th Edition (I no longer have my old dog-eared copy, which I think was likely a 1st or 2nd edition)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2021
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  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The advice has changed a lot over the years - what you get will depend on which edition you pick up.
  7. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    According to my grammatically obsessed husband, one theory is that it’s because in Latin an infinitive is only one word, with nothing corresponding to the ‘to’ in English. Thus an infinitive in English was deemed to be a single entity, so the two words should not be split.
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  8. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    Count me into Category 1 above. It is a long while since I consulted Fowler, although in the bad old days when I was working my boss referred to it frequently and suggested that we did also.
    Thank you Pauline for the explanation and link to Latin. That is perhaps why I don't care as long as it makes sense. I 'studied' Latin for 2 years at school and never really got the hang of it, so much so that for two years running I scored 11% in the end of term exam. My teacher refused to put 'Constant' in my end of term report, which I have always regarded as unfair. I must add that never regretted struggling with Latin, and the little bit that I did learn comes in handy sometimes in relation to family history.
  9. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Who's he? Never heard of him/it.
    I'm with you A,Muse, clarity is everything and I never took any notice of what they tried to teach me at grammar school (in England) as I didn't understand it then.
    For instance, I have no clue what an adverb is, or a past participle, those are just words I heard in my English lessons.
    Mostly, correct grammar and punctuation comes naturally to me because for most of my life I have been an avid reader.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    Just dusted this off.
    You can see by the pristine condition how much use it has had. Publication date 1981!
    d. IMG_0679.jpg
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  11. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Who remembers everything learned at school? Think of Algebra, Trigonometry, and heaven help us Calculus (don't ask because I've long forgotten) but Fowler was a bit different because he Henry Watson Fowler* (1858-1933) wrote 'Fowlers Modern English Usage' and in so doing made the understanding of English more pleasurable. So verbs, adverbs, adjectives and yes participles - and the rest of the grammatical mumbo jumbo - would be explained in a sort of light hearted way (with serious undertones). So, as my English Teacher would say (she of small stature but formidable with it) -"instead of making a 'howler' -consult Fowler".

    In our last year at school and indeed last term we had to write imaginary job application letters. So best handwriting (we had to buy good notepaper I recall) and no grammatical mistakes. We had been encouraged to buy our own copies of 'Fowlers' but at the time I think most of us relied on the half dozen or so copies from the school library (not to be taken off the premises).

    Years later (indeed many) I came across a copy of Fowlers in a second hand book shop. If anything I found it more useful then than I did at school and had long forgotten the niceties of split infinitives along with adverbs and pronouns and to my surprise I sat and read through it as though it was a work of fiction; which is why it became dog-eared. At some point -probably when moving house - it seems to have disappeared from our various bookcases, which in a funny sort of way is sad even though I cannot recall the last time it was consulted.

    *HW Fowler had a brother and between them they wrote the 'The Kings English' and compiled the first edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary in 1911. Henry finished the Pocket Oxford Dictionary in 1924 and two years later 1926 wrote his Modern English Usage which (I quote)"made him a household name"...well for some anyway.;)

    There is a lovely Book Review by 'The New York Times' entitled ' H.W.Fowler, the King of English' which you may find interesting and learn how Churchill and others regarded Fowler with a degree of reverence...as do I as a matter of fact.

    Edit: Just spotted A.Muse has posted a copy of Fowlers 2nd edition. I recall my copy had a blue cover but not sure what edition it was except that it was old even when I bought it.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2021
  12. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Re my copy of Fowlers which seems to have gone 'walkies' from our bookcase(s). When my wife mentioned to our next door neighbour that we had both been looking for 'Fowlers English Usage' but couldn't find it, she recalled Mike (her late husband) had a copy which got boxed up with some of his other books when he died, and was in her loft. She said when her daughter next visits she will ask her to retrieve Mike's copy and pass it on to me. I found this quite touching because Mike and I had been friends and both interested in Computers, although he had been an IT professional from whom I learned a great deal. It will be nice to have a copy of the book again, and who knows I may well re-read it, but this time it will be placed on the bookshelf in my office.

    Footnote: There was 6 days difference in our ages and Mike often remarked his Aunt had received the Queen's telegram for reaching 100, and he aimed to do the same. He took early retirement in 1995 and often ribbed me in a friendly fashion for still having to go to work. Sadly he died in 1998 shy of his 60th birthday. RIP Mike.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2021
  13. A. Muse

    A. Muse LostCousins Member

    Way off topic but.......
    In those bad old days when I worked for a living I had to attend a 2 day course on some irrelevant subject something like 'Managing for the future' or 'Self development' (one of those management consultant con tricks that the high ups get sold), At the end of the course one of the senior managers came in and asked what our ambitions were with respect to the company and our careers. Most replied that they wanted to be general manager or departmental manager (usual grovel stuff). I replied 'I want to live long enough to cane the pension fund' he did not think that was funny, it was not meant to be, I was doing a job I enjoyed and was perfectly happy to carry on doing it until I retired. I did not want promotion which would have been doing a different job stuck in an office all day.
  14. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    You would have got on well with my neighbour, and friend, Mike because he worked for a well known Bank in London who I shall not name. He had the status of Manager, but worked in their IT department with responsibilities for in house Computer terminals and branch internet connections. When he took early retirement after his 56th birthday he told me he had two ambitions; one -already mentioned - living to 100, and two, causing the Bank to have to pay him his pension for the next 40 years. (I believe there was some private grudge between him and the Bank, but he kept that to himself)

    Of course it didn't happen that way and reminds that one should be careful what one wishes for! However it might be some consolation for him to know his wife has been content for the last 23 years to receive a regular monthly (50% share) from the pension fund.

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