2007-05-03

Who are you going to give that gin to?

What is wrong with the grammar in the following sentences? C'mon, this is a test. Sit up straight, spit out your gum, suck in your stomach, and pay attention. I know you love this kind of thing.

1. I am going to quickly run to the liquor store; what's your fancy?

2. Who are you going to give that gin to?

3. If anyone looks like they've had one too many, get them the hell out of my car.

4. The party which I told you about yesterday was, like, super fun.

Think you know? I hope you've scratched down some ideas. Would you be surprised if I were to tell you that all four sentences are grammatically just dandy?

[Update 2007/05/07: Some of you seem disinclined to take my word for it. That's fine; I expected some doubt. I gently lead you here instead, then, for a post by the more impressively degreed and persuasive G. Pullum: http://http//itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004348.html

He doesn't provide the same lurching example sentences, but he addresses the split infinitive, the preposition at the end of the sentence, the singular they, and the which/that distinction.

Note that I have not said anything about style; I'll admit that all of these sentences can be improved, especially if we specify that the gin in question is Bombay Sapphire. My point is only that they are not grammatically incorrect.]

3 comments:

Zootenany Hoodlum said...

2, you can't end a sentence with a to. See, that was wrong.

Consider that a well thought argument. Hey, it's six fifteen, the canucks lost last night, and it is damn well the best I can do.

Argue that!

Mark Hanington said...

Who are you going to give that bloody gin to? It's mine! Give it back!

I believe that tightens up the sentence a great deal. Certainly makes the meaning clearer.

rwp said...

Re style: Actually I don't think example number four can be improved. The party wasn't quite super fun, so I'd argue that's accurate to say it "was, like, super fun." Perfection as it stands.