Sunday, 14 September 2014

Grammar Part 2: And Rightly So!



And rightly so! As people have become so fond of saying in the last 10 years – or so. Why? It’s so pompous and Victorian. What’s wrong with “and rightly”?

“So” means “thus”, or “like that”, and needs an adjective or adjectival clause to refer back to, for example:
Herat, in western Afghanistan, is one destination in that tragic country that is still safe, or relatively so. (William Dalrymple, FT,  Dec 10 2010)
A classic science fiction novel, and justifiably so. (25 Nov 2000)
Gaudy, but authentically so. (Jonathan Foyle)
Blowy winds, particularly so across the southwest. (Carol Kirkland on BBC Breakfast 2013-02-04)
America is actually really expensive and a lot of other places are much less so. (gloss.com)

Not wrong, but awkward:
Marriage is in a state of flux as a result of cultural changes, and inevitably so. (Guardian November 9, 2010) ...and this is inevitable.


BUT SOMETIMES YOU SHOULD JUST DROP THE “SO”

There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. (aattp.org)

You wouldn’t write: “There has rightly so been widespread criticism...”, you’d write: “There has – rightly – been widespread criticism...” So, end your sentence “and rightly”.


Defence spending will fall - and rightly so. (New Statesman)
George Osborne blames the voters. And rightly so. (Telegraph Blogs)
S. Hawking challenged... and rightly so. (philosophyofscienceportal.blogspot.com)
When I was starting out, my work was savaged. Rightfully so. (Linkedin commenter)
The awards are already piling up for The King’s Speech, and rightly so. Times Jan 7 11
There are a lot of laws to protect the rhino these days – and quite rightly so. (Antiques Roadshow)
The show that made Roger Moore a star and rightly so. (imdb comment)
I know this is almost everyone’s favourite book – but rightly so. (Johnnie Boden, The Week)

“Quite rightly” would do for all of these.


Her paper seems to be being ignored by anti-sex work and anti-adult industry feminists. Unsurprisingly so. (quietgirlriot.wordpress.com)

How about putting “unsurprisingly” at the top of the sentence? Can we not start a sentence with an adverb? Or it could end “This is not surprising.” Or even “Are you surprised?” (And isn’t “adult industry” a great euphemism?)

Hislop played up to his persona, but funnily so… (Guardian September 6, 2011)
They thought we weren’t going to solve it. And quite understandably so. (The Perfect Murder)
Urine is urine? Undeniably so. (NS Feb 2012).
He was a hero of science. Undoubtedly so!
Sage bushes will make a 3ft mound, but weakly so. (Times April 2013)

This is your reward, and deservedly so. (Primelocation.com) ...and you deserve it.
The green leaves of beetroot often overlooked, but undeservedly so. (Times May 24 2014) ...often undeservedly overlooked.

SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO FIND A SYNONYM

While I never find Miss Marple annoying, I do find Miss Silver so.
While I never find Miss Marple annoying, Miss Silver irritates me.


Kentucky has a higher teen-motherhood rate than the national average, but not radically so. (National Review, Dec 2013)
Kentucky’s teen-motherhood rate is higher than the national average, but not radically so.OR:
Kentucky has a higher teen-motherhood rate than the national average, but the difference is small.

Prince William is a model of discretion these days – but as a child, he was rather less so. (The Week) ...he was rather less tactful.

Campion himself is rather recessive, but then as I recall it he is rather so in Allingham's later work as well. (Passing Tramp) ...he is fairly retiring.

Even [the police] were bored and so when something came along that looked like trouble it was made to be so. (LRB July 2013) ...it was turned into a problem.


...OR REPEAT THE WORD


He gave his opinion that the office of monarch, once abolished, should stay so. (Wikipedia)
...the office of monarch, once abolished, should stay abolished.
(Writers are terrified of repetition – but we have nothing to fear but fear itself.)

There is no such thing as the unconscious mind; there is brain activity that is not represented in consciousness or only partially so. (Michael Heap)
There is no such thing as the unconscious mind; there is brain activity that is not represented in consciousness – or is represented only partially.


...OR REACH FOR “ONE” OR “SUCH” OR “THAT”


We are a country moving forward and will go on being so. (Julia Gillard)
We will go on being one.

Those teaching children religion never see it as indoctrination, but if they taught political ideology in the same way it would be seen as so. (Noel McGivern ‏@Good_Beard)
...it would be seen as such.

More grammar here.




2 comments:

  1. Nice run-through of the issues. In fact I object to most usages of rightly, and also sensibly, in this kind of context. My immediate (bolshie) response is 'I'll be the judge of that' , I don't want to be told that something is right or sensible by the writer.

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  2. It's "so" without an antecedent that gets me! And fashions in pomposity. ;-)

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