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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Grammar

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August 19, 2014 at 5:00 AM

It’s OK to boldly split infinitives, says Harvard psychologist

English teachers take notice.

Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker says in a recent article in The Guardian that it’s important to distinguish between legitimate grammar rules that “lubricate comprehension” and musty admonitions based on pet peeves, crackpot theories and superstitions that “impede clear and graceful prose.”

Some of the latter include:

Ending sentences with prepositions

The prohibition against clause-final prepositions is considered a superstition even by the language mavens, and it persists only among know-it-alls who have never opened a dictionary or style manual to check.

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