Saturday, August 06, 2005

The All-Seeing K

Scott McDonald has taken another yellowing 2-cent postal card and adding text to it, but this time it is not a note. This time he sends me the picture of a giant K (entitled "The Expansion of the K") expanding to the right and right off the page. The K has, atop its thick stem, an eyelashed eyeball that is looking up and to the left, away from the expansion.

To the left of this K, I find this note from the original user of this card:

That book I don't like to be read out of up for. --That is something up with which I will not put. WC

The first sentence here is supposed to be horrible English--a sentence ending with lots of prepositions, a hobgoblin of the grammatically stupid. But what bothers me is that I cannot figure out what the "up" or the "for" are supposed to mean in this sentence. The second sentence is a famous quotation from Winston Churchill, but our author here appears to believe that he is complaining about sentences that end with prepositions; instead, he was complaining about the stupidity of reworking natural English sentences so that they wouldn't end with a preposition. Note that his sentence's natural form would be "That is something I will not put up with," which ends in two prepositions.

un violon d'ingres

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