Filed under: en traduisant
La newsletter di The Writer si focalizza su uno dei temi più dibattuti di sempre anche nella nostra grammatica: è lecito iniziare una frase con “e” o con “ma”? In linea di principio, no. Tuttavia (e badate bene, ho evitato il ma ;-)), ci sono moltissimi esempi di situazioni che dimostrano il contrario:
And another thing…
One of the most persistent misconceptions about writing in English is that you’re not allowed to start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. Utter rubbish. In fact, sometimes they’re the only words that will do – they can give your writing pace, drama and oomph. And writers have been doing it for hundreds of years.
But you probably knew that already. Maybe you’re thinking ‘that’s all fine by me, but my boss thinks it’s wrong. How do I persuade someone else that it’s OK?’
Show some examples
They’re everywhere. But if you need one in a hurry, try:
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.’
Genesis Chapter 1, The Bible, King James version
(In fact, the Bible can’t get enough of it: 33 of the 35 sentences in Genesis Chapter 1 begin with ‘and’.)
‘Many of these missions, including MoonLite, are far from assured. And there is no shortage of people suggesting we’re better spending money elsewhere. But who can fail to be inspired when they look up at the Moon on a clear night?’
BBC news website, 19 July 2009
‘The coalition’s leaders, at least, seem to have grasped that it must behave not as an occupying army but as a partner, whose aim is to build up the local forces that will ultimately ensure Afghanistan’s security. And soldiers and civilians are beginning to understand that development aid can benefit local people…’
The Economist, 17 October 2009.
Set a challenge
If someone says they get annoyed by sentences starting with ‘and’ or ‘but’, ask them to check their newspaper. They’ll have been happily reading them for years, without even noticing. We only tend to spot the ands and buts if we’re asked to look at a bit of writing critically.
Today (5th November 2009), we skimmed through the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Independent and the Economist. Every single one of them has sentences and paragraphs starting with ‘and’ on almost every page. And we lost count of the amount of sentences that started with ‘but’. There were hundreds – three on the front page of the Guardian alone.
And if they still don’t buy it?
Hey, there are still some people out there who think the world is flat. You can’t win ’em all.
Questo per dire che il problema della rigidità nell’approccio alla lingua, soprattutto scritta, è sentito anche in lingue altre dalla nostra. Su questo argomento, avevamo già segnalato un bellissimo testo di De Benedetti, nel quale si possono trovare moltissimi altri esempi similari (ovviamente in lingua italiana).
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