He was noted for his typically common-sensical remarks regarding usage of English and liked to have a dig at commonly-held beliefs.
Classic Fowler... Fowlerian quips & Fowleresque[edit | edit source]
- Preposition (at end): "It is a cherished superstition that prepositions must, in spite of the incurable English instinct for putting them late,... be kept true to their name, & placed before the word they govern. 'A sentence ending in a preposition is an elegant sentence' represents a very general belief. The fact is that the remarkable freedom enjoined in English in putting its prepositions late & omitting its relative is an important element in the flexibility of the language....".
- Split infinitive: "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 distinguish. Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, and are happy folk, to be envied."
- Whose: “Let us, in the name of common sense, prohibit the prohibition of whose inanimate; good writing is surely difficult enough without the forbidding of things that have historical grammar, and present intelligibility, and obvious convenience, on their side”. (Modern English Usage (1926)).
Publications[edit | edit source]
- The King's English (1906) - H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler
- The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1911) adapted by H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler
- A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) aka Modern English Usage
References[edit | edit source]
- Visser, F. Th. An Historical Syntax of the English Language, Volume 1, pág. 403. Brill Archive at Google Books.
- "Style guide" The Guardian
-  The Chicago Manual of Style. Retrieved 30th September 2012.