- Would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split. 1888–1959 American writer of detective fiction: letter to Edward Weeks, 18 January 1947
- Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.
illustrating that grammatical structure is independent of meaning
Syntactic Structures (1957) ch. 2 1928– American linguistics scholar:
- This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.
Plain Words (1948) ‘Troubles with Prepositions’ 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: Ernest Gowers
- I will not go down to posterity talking bad grammar.
while correcting proofs of his last Parliamentary speech, 31 March 1881
Disraeli (1966) 1804–81 British Tory statesman and novelist; Prime Minister 1868, 1874–80: Robert Blake
- The English speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; and (5) those who know and distinguish. Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority and are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes.
Modern English Usage (1926) 1858–1933 English lexicographer and grammarian:
- The only person entitled to use the imperial ‘we’ in speaking of himself is a king, an editor, and a man with a tapeworm.
Los Angeles Times 6 October 1914 1833–99 American agnostic: in
- Grammer, the ground of al.
c.1330–c.1400 English poet: The Vision of Piers Plowman B text (ed. A. V. C. Schmidt, 1987) Passus 15, l. 370
- The subjunctive mood is in its death throes, and the best thing to do is to put it out of its misery as soon as possible.
A Writer's Notebook (1949) written in 1941 1874–1965 English novelist:
- Only in grammar can you be more than perfect.
New York Times 19 January 1992 1929–2009 American columnist: in
- I don't want to talk grammar, I want to talk like a lady.
Pygmalion (1916) act 2 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: