The reason that I avoid a lot of words in speech is to remain immediately comprehensible to my interlocutors and to not sound like Mr. Know-it-all.
When I use complicated words in writing, the reader's ignorance is not obvious for the world to see if a dictionary is needed -- and it is also a way to compliment the person on his supposed intelligence.
I have never understood the pedantic objection to the split infinitive. Maybe not great for a doctoral thesis or published works, but for less formal writing or spoken usage if used consciously and judiciously it can lend a relaxed colloquial feel.
Tuscans are noted for frequently not using the subjunctive mood following fixed phrases which the textbook insists it to be strictly mandatory. Is it bad usage or regional dialect- which some claim to be an important cultural patrimony?
Or is it just people communicating in a way they are comfortable doing?
According to many writers on language, the traditional objection to the split infinitive in English derives from an attempt to impose Latin grammar on a Germanic language. Although a majority of English vocabulary is Latinate, either from Old French or directly (or from modern Latin languages), the infrastructure is not Latin.
Well, I was twitting Kerouac about his lofty statement above, but in real life unsplit infinitives can sound stilted or even incorrect. I think partly it's a matter of not being able to let the stress fall naturally or effectively on a word unless it's placed between the two parts of the infinitive.
Wikipedia uses the opening sequence of Star Trek to illustrate the split infinitive. I think that particular phrase also shows how a word splitting an infinitive makes the phrase more effective than it would be if rendered "correctly". (it's a pretty interesting article overall: here
Their comments on current usage: Present style and usage manuals deem simple split infinitives unobjectionable in many situations. For example, Curme's Grammar of the English Language (1931) says that not only is the split infinitive correct, but it "should be furthered rather than censured, for it makes for clearer expression". The Columbia Guide to Standard American English notes that the split infinitive "eliminates all possibility of ambiguity", in contrast to the "potential for confusion" in an unsplit construction. Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says, "there has never been a rational basis for objecting to the split infinitive."
If I check anything I write, I can see my split infinitives and try to correct them, since that's how I was taught. However, I'm sure I use them unconsciously when I speak.
After a couple of years of studying and having to memorise certain laws I came to the conclusion that Latin is used too much and rarely are they understandable on first or second reading. There is body called the Plain English Campaign who promote and advocate 'plain English', the clue is in the name I suppose. Some of their advise is -
"You can start a sentence with and, but, because, so or however. You can split infinitives. So you can say to boldly go. You can end a sentence with a preposition. In fact, it is something we should stand up for. And you can use the same word twice in a sentence if you can't find a better word.
Of course, this does not mean you should break these so-called rules all the time - just when they make a sentence flow better."
That is why legalise is so 'grand'. it has to be so carefully worded that there can be no doubt as to the meaning of the words. A case years ago had a fortune attached to the placing of a comma.By using it as normal speech would have it, the eldest heir got the lot. If the lawyer had omitted the comma, the whole family would share it. Result...neither side would budge and the fortune was frittered away in Legal fees.
When I am writing stuff I use language suitable for the subject. If it is a reflective piece I favour longer and softer words. If stirred up by something, I go for the short choppy rhythm. This just happens...not planned.
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
I think "vol" is just generic for theft. If you give it a more legalese term, you cover more bases at the same time so it's harder for the accused person's lawyer to dispute the exact term.
Just as in English law, the offence of "theft" is specificially defined as including the intention of permanently depriving the owner of whatever is taken. Whereas there is a separate offence of "taking without owner's consent" to deal with joyriding (known as "twocking" in TV cop series).
Un delinquant is often used in french in newspapers. However I had trouble writing it so I think Kerouac was spot in with this example. I probably have never written it. In English I have no idea what is more for writing than speaking. I read from English or US books and pay no attention to the difference and speak with 98% non native English speakers. So I am interested in ghevthread but will more probably be a lurker.
Dishonestly appropriating property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.
I wrote that from memory and then checked it was right as it's been many years since I needed to know it. But then there is a definition as to what the word dishonest means, plus most of the others, as someone at some time has disputed exactly what they mean. Then there is burglary and aggravated burglary - which I liked because it meant entering a property with a wife.
Taking a vehicle without consent wasn't a specific offence until 1968 - "a person shall be guilty of an offence if, without having the consent of the owner or other lawful authority, he takes any conveyance for his own or another's use, or knowing that any conveyance has been taken without such authority, drives it or allows himself to be carried in or on it."
This is the offence I dealt with more often than any other. It was added to in 1992 to include aggravated vehicle taking. As to definitions, a conveyance is "a vehicle must have been constructed or adapted to carry a driver (and others, depending on the design) whether by land, water or air." This includes a hovercraft for example but when I was learning about this, I asked if it included a parachute. I was told after some thought it didn't, but I can't remember now why not.
I once was accused of theft of building slabs. I had to go to Magistrates Court for it and defended myself. I showed I was not going to "permanently deprive" the owner of them (in effect I was holding them hostage for a specific reason) and was found not guilty. I also had to go to Crown Court for Reckless Driving. I employed a barrister to argue my case. I was found not to have committed the offence and thus not guilty. The turning point was when the witnesses repeated what the colour of my car was from being told by the police just before the case because they couldn't remember - and the police had gotten it wrong. They said it was green when it was blue.
I had an accident in a police traffic car when I had the sirens and lights on going to a job. Damage only accident, no injuries. It was deemed to be my fault and I was found guilty of driving without due care and attention. Six points and £300 fine. Even though I showed I was paying attention (how can you not?) and driving with due care (with all the training I had it was a given I would be), I had no support from the police and this was one of the numerous reasons I left. Their point was that because of the weeks and months of training I had, it was also a given that in the event of an accident I must have been at fault. It was assumed I should have known/predicted what would happen. No matter the circumstances and no matter who was really at fault, the default position was it had to be me because of being so highly trained and I should never have been in the position for it to have happened. When the gaffers don't back you up and actively promote you being prosecuted, it left a very bad taste in my mouth and didn't bode well for the future.
The only good thing was even though I had the conviction, I was still allowed to stay as a traffic policeman and drive round in high powered cars. Maybe they felt a bit guilty after all.