Accidence Will Happen : The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage
Are standards of English alright - or should that be all right? To knowingly split an infinitive or not to? And what about ending a sentence with preposition, or for that matter beginning one with 'and'?
We learn language by instinct, but good English, we are told, requires rules. Every generation believes that standards of English are deteriorating. Yet people carry on speaking, writing and understanding language, and usage changes and adapts. There are many possible ways of expressing yourself fluently, grammatically and idiomatically. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens frequently used constructions that breach many people's notion of correct English.
From splitting infinitives to dangling prepositions, this erudite, entertaining and deeply reassuring guide demonstrates that many of the so-called rules of good style are little more than folklore mixed with prejudice and can be cheerfully disregarded. Oliver Kamm explains why the pedants are wrong, why the much-lamented 'good grammar' that ceased to be taught to school children in the 1960s should not be brought back, and why to deliberately split an infinitive, in the right context, is perfectly alright.
This is a book for anyone who cares about language and how it is used. With authoritative advice on the linguistic conundrums that we all face, ACCIDENCE WILL HAPPEN will become an indispensable companion for readers, writers and users of modern English.