Saturday, October 15, 2005

One doesn't know whether to laugh or weep, what?

The case against infinitive splitting is considered hair splitting these days, and is so, likely, for very good reasons. However, the odd time you're given an example that reminds you of the integrity of the rule. To wit, in this weekend's National Post, the following quote appears (my emphasis added): "It's going to unfortunately be an unvarnished fact that their futures were changed" ... And while I don't know that this use of "unfortunately" and "unvarnished" so close together in the same sentence makes for a strict instance of a double negative, it is, anyway, confusing and extremely hard on the ears.

It's interesting, then, to note that the speaker was the Honourable Gerard Kennedy, Ontario's current Minister of Education, commenting on the poor showing of the new provincial curriculum. Unvarnished and unfortunate indeed.