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The things you disapprove of

(26 Posts)
quietlysuggests Fri 14-Nov-14 13:41:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DadDadDad Fri 14-Nov-14 17:41:59

"of which" is very formal, but the first version is perfectly grammatical. Some people used to impose a rule that you should not end a sentence with a preposition such as "of", and it can sometimes feel a little awkward, but it's not wrong.

Stuffofawesome Fri 14-Nov-14 17:44:33

i thought you were asking for my list. So disappointed smile

DadDadDad Fri 14-Nov-14 17:47:41

Whoops, I see you asked to explain why it's not wrong. I'm not sure I can, but I'd be interested to see if anyone can explain why they think it is wrong!

I suppose we could just say that as you can transform "I hate many things" to "There are many things I hate", where "I hate" becomes a clause modifying "things", it is acceptable to transform "I disapprove of many things" to "There are many things I disapprove of", with "disapprove of" being a verb just like "hate".

But that's just observing how standard native speakers talk rather than explaining why they talk that way!

MrsHathaway Fri 14-Nov-14 17:51:05

Downton scripts used to be very tight. I agree that Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham wouldn't end a sentence with a preposition if she could help it.

"... the list of things of which you disapprove" is far more Victorian, and Granny is irretrievably Victorian.

DadDadDad Fri 14-Nov-14 17:55:20

This link pretty much covers why it's not a rule.

languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3407

Note: Some people on Pedants' Corner are suspicious of accepting the authority of random blog posts linked from here. Well, the blogger is an academic linguist, so he is probably more reliable than a random person on MN (including me grin)! Also, he largely quotes from a published dictionary, so you might find the quote useful.

MrsHathaway Fri 14-Nov-14 17:56:40

Oh, but "don't end a sentence with a preposition" is hypercorrection and therefore obsolete.

The only reason it was wrong there was because it didn't match the character.

DadDadDad Fri 14-Nov-14 17:58:06

I've never seen DA, so I had no idea what register Granny might use. Given MrsH's description, wouldn't she actually say "the things of which one disapproves"?

prism Fri 14-Nov-14 18:46:11

The "rule" kind of highlights the messy way in which English uses prepositions all over the place to make up for its lack of the kind of grammar that other languages have. If you say "I disapprove of X", is "of" making X a genitive noun, or is it making "disapprove" a transitive verb? It's not really obvious either way, and when you put it like that, it doesn't matter. But when you say "X is what I disapprove of", this sort of covalent bonding between the words breaks down, because "disapprove of" is not actually a word- it's two words looking for another to apply to. But that word has already gone by.

Personally I don't think there's any need to avoid propositions at the ends of sentences, although it can be useful if you want to draw attention to the verb, as opposed to the noun.

quietlysuggests Fri 14-Nov-14 19:21:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsHathaway Fri 14-Nov-14 19:35:10

3Dad - she often uses "one" but in this case she was addressing a particular person.

OP the split infinitive appears in such phrases as "to boldly go" (as opposed to "boldly to go" or "to go boldly") and is another non-rule based on the erroneous assumption that the infinitive includes "to" - it may, but it may not.

If we can split some verb phrases (she would gleefully split her infinitives) why shouldn't we split others (he resolved to promptly confiscate her blue pencil)?

Sometimes a split infinitive gets one out of a stylistic hole; sometimes it grates.

You can develop "the ear" by reading a lot of well-edited writing. Modern books are usually released faster so are edited less. C20 was a high point.

quietlysuggests Fri 14-Nov-14 20:51:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DadDadDad Fri 14-Nov-14 21:36:29

as I don't even understand the words that you are using here ^, especially daddaddad and prism.

Well in prism's case, that's because she started using terms from chemistry as an analogy! smile

As for me, was there a particular word I used that I can explain? Sorry, for obscuring with jargon. There's some English language experts on this board, and I try to keep up.

Maybe a passing English teacher can point to some good web-based resources for teaching oneself the basics of grammar?

prism Sat 15-Nov-14 10:41:06

Sorry- I wasn't meaning to blind anyone with science (and I wouldn't be doing a good job anyway; apparently covalent bonding is a bit old hat as a concept now).

But the thing is that in English (and particularly British English), we use extra words, usually prepositions, to make verbs function. The split infinitive debate is another effect of this- in most languages the infinitive is just one word, not "to" + the verb. So in French you can't split the infinitive of disapprove (ie "to disapprove"), as it's "désapprouver". And in French you couldn't end up with the "things you disapprove of", as there's no "of" involved- it's "les choses vous désapprouvez", and there's no preposition hanging around at the end of the sentence looking for something to apply to, hence nothing for pedants to get their teeth into.

So all I'm saying is that if you're interested in this subject, have a look at all the words that aren't nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs- they are often the source of the rules of (and arguments about) grammar, because in English they do a lot of the grammatical work.

DadDadDad Sat 15-Nov-14 12:44:32

No, I like the idea of words being atoms, combining into grammatical useful molecules that can react together to make more interesting chemicals (ie sentences) each with their own character. When a noun gains an apostrophe plus s, is that like forming an ion, which needs to combine with another atom?

Anyway I'm off to build a participle accelerator to collide King Lear with the instructions to a washing machine, to see what exotic material emerges. grin

prism Sun 16-Nov-14 12:11:57

Are your 3 children daughters by any chance, DadDadDad? smile

circleofNovember Sun 16-Nov-14 12:31:05

spelling rather than grammar T'is instead of 'Tis

hence why

DadDadDad Sun 16-Nov-14 16:57:31

prism - what leads you to that conclusion? I only have one daughter.

prism Sun 16-Nov-14 17:47:38

The plot of King Lear. But it was just a coincidence.

DadDadDad Sun 16-Nov-14 18:57:46

Doh! Completely missed your literary joke, sorry. I think I chose Lear at random (didn't want to go with obvious Hamlet), but maybe a Freudian analyst would deduce something about my subconscious? confused

prism Tue 18-Nov-14 00:20:16

There is another interesting scientific phenomenon in language, and that is the fact that as globals warming develops, or at least the widespread concern about it does, more and more spurious apostrophes appear, while commas are approaching extinction. The reason is, on the basis of the Planck/Bohr model of the sentence, that as the language heats up, the punctuation moves to a higher orbit. This effect has been felt less in Holland, where the Dutch have long since kept much of their punctuation aloft in the plurals of nouns ending in unstressed vowels (to avoid them being washed away in the low-lying areas), but elsewhere it means that commas are turning into apostrophes everywhere, with no sign of any return.

There are plans afoot to capture the apostrophes and return them to the language, to be used as commas, but it will require a well-coordinated effort on behalf of many volunteers.

DadDadDad Tue 18-Nov-14 08:02:30

Ok, prism.... (Backing away slowly) I wonder if you have been personally investigating the Dutch situation and spending just a little too much time in certain Amsterdam coffee shops? wink

MirandaGoshawk Thu 20-Nov-14 20:30:48

Terrific post, prism grin

ohmymimi Wed 03-Dec-14 18:08:22

Just seen your post of 18/11, prism. I'm surprised claig has not been along to poo poo your grammatical global warming assertion as another conspiracy of 'the elite', and as another sound reason to become a Kipper and exiting the EU sharpish.wink

ohmymimi Wed 03-Dec-14 18:10:11

exiting = exit.

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