word order (was Re: Random DWJ discovery of the day)

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Tue Apr 5 04:51:50 EDT 2005

Colin postulated:

> However a case can be made that expressions such as "It is I" and "He
> and I went there" are not part of English, but part of an artificial
> language invented by people

Well, they are both expressions that I use naturally, being part of the
language I absorbed as a child.  Does that mean that my native language
isn't English?  (Thinking about it, I would say "It is I" or "It's me",
but I wouldn't mix and match.)

What, though, do you mean by "an artificial language invented by
people"?  If English wasn't invented by people, who was it invented by?
Or whom was it invented by? [*]  The distinction between an artificial
and a natural language is easier to grasp, but I would argue that it is
seldom if ever clear cut in the real world.

> (and conversely that 'to boldly go' is part of English).

I don't know of any serious scholar of English who would claim that it
was not.  In fact, I don't know of any who would even claim that it was
not correct English.  David Crystal, in the Encyclopedia (?sp) of the
English Language, lists around a dozen, together with passages in which
they each express their respective support for this construction.


[*]  I accept that "by whom was it invented?" is also grammatically
correct, and could be regarded as the basic form of that sentence.  But
when I move "whom" to the head for emphasis, "by" floats to its other
natural position, directly after the verb.  I maintain - as, I believe,
do most descriptive grammarians - that it is entirely irrelevant whether
this is also the end of a sentence!  As regards "who" or "whom" at the
front of the sentence, "who" appears (to me) to be the natural form
because when we utter it, it doesn't yet know that it is governed by
"by".  But if I thought before speaking I'd probably say "whom".

___________________________ Disclaimer Notice ____________________
This message and any attachments are confidential and should only be read by those to whom they are addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact us, delete the message from your computer and destroy any copies. Any distribution or copying without our prior permission is prohibited.

Internet communications are not always secure and therefore the E.ON Group does not accept legal responsibility for this message. The recipient is responsible for verifying its authenticity before acting on the contents. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the E.ON Group. 
E.ON UK plc, Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, Coventry, CV4 8LG.
Registered in England & Wales No. 2366970

E.ON UK Trading Ltd, Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, Coventry, CV4 8LG
Registered in England & Wales No. 4178314

E.ON UK Trading Ltd is regulated by the Financial Services Authority to carry out investment activities. 

Telephone +44 (0) 2476 42 4000
Fax +44 (0) 2476 42 5432

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at suberic.net with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at http://suberic.net/dwj/list/

More information about the Dwj mailing list