Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Do Go Not Gently Into That Good Night" Means "Go Ahead and Die, But Destroy the Place While You're At It"

Here's a thought I had the other day about people who insist one should not split a verb: can they never use the word "not"?

Here's an article with some background on splitting verb phrases. The example used by the author is "will faithfully execute." Some would say it is more grammatically correct to say "faithfully will execute" or "will execute faithfully." And either of those are also workable English sentences.

But what about when you use the adverb "not"? You can't say "I will execute not the office" without it taking the meaning that you will instead execute something else, and you can't really say "I not will execute the office" at all. The only way to do it is to say "I will not execute the office," which is splitting the verb with the adverb.

It seems like there has to be an exception to this "rule" for using "not," which is a good indication that the "rule" should just be ignored.

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