Monday, 28 November 2011

To infinitive and beyond

Vital reading for cricketers
There have been calls this week from Scottish business leaders - if that phrase is not oxymoronic - for an improvement in standards of spelling and grammar in Scottish schools.

Fantasy Bob fears that cricket is also threatened by this general lack of appreciation of the importance of good grammar. Batsmen used to learn about playing straight as they had Latin word order drummed into them; parsing sentences was a sure way for a bowler to appreciate line and length. But just as Latin has declined as a subject taught in schools, so has cricket. The 2 go hand in hand.

Accordingly, few batsmen nowadays quietly conjugate Latin verbs as they wait to go to the wicket; and few bowlers take the time to be clear in their minds about the appropriate use of the apostrophe. (For those struggling with this, the correct form is How's that? not Hows' that? - it is important to be correct, and umpires should consider disallowing the appeal if they feel the fielding side may not have the proper form in their minds at the time of the appeal. If in doubt they should test the spelling.)

Instead batsmen are more likely to retreat to i-Pod land where the idiosyncratic word order of rap further undermines traditional standards. No wonder there is so much swinging across the line.

In an effort to save the situation and raise the standards of grammar in cricket, Fantasy Bob has prepared the following guide to grammatical terms for cricketers:
  • Future tense - feeling when leg spin bowler comes on to bowl 
  • Tense - feeling while facing leg spin bowling 
  • Past tense - feeling when leg spin bowler gets you with the flipper 
  • Indefinite article - what is found at the bottom of your cricket bag at the end of the season 
  • Instransitive - batsman who does not walk 
  • Infinitive - innings by Chris Tavare 
  • Irregular plurals - bladder problems before batting 
  • Ablative absolute - feeling after downing one to many vodka based cocktails after the match 
  • Inanimate nouns - cricketers who do not see it is their job to chase the ball to the boundary 
  • Proper nouns - cricketers from the better schools 
  • Syntax - fines imposed for dropping catches 
  • Genitive - area of body to be protected by box 
  • Adverbials - ditto 
  • Gerund - small hamster-like rodent of no use to cricketers 
  • Preposition - early foot movement by batsman 
  • Dipthong - extremely small underwear favoured by more extrovert cricketers 
  • Future Perfect - every batsman's next innings 

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