Active seeming: dumb grammar fetishism yet again

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Last January 21 The Economist actually printed a letter I wrote pointing out that how wirelessly to hack a car was a ridiculous way to say "how to wirelessly hack a car," and resulted from a perverted and dimwitted obeisance to a zombie rule. But did they actually listen, and think about changing their ways? They did not. I have no idea how they manage to publish a beautiful magazine every Thursday night when they are so mentally crippled by eccentric 19th-century grammar edicts that they will commit syntactic self-harm rather than go against the prejudices of a few doddering old amateur grammarians in the middle 1800s who worried about the "split infinitive." Take a look at this nonsense from the magazine's leader in the issue of April 22, about UK prime minister Theresa May's chances of having more flexibility after the general election she has called:

With a larger majority she can more easily stand up to her ultra-Eurosceptic backbenchers, some of whom seem actively to want Britain to crash out.

Seem actively??

Those backbenchers don't seem actively. That makes virtually no sense. The sequence "actively seem" has appeared sometimes on the web, but "actively want" is roughly two orders of magnitude more frequent. (Both are so rare that smaller corpora are of little use, but for what it's worth, there are two occurrences of "actively want" in the Wall Street Journal corpus; there are none for "actively seem".)

The writer's intent, surely, was to claim that the extreme Eurosceptics actively want Britain to crash out. What is so hard about seeing that the adverb should be positioned adjacent to the verb it modifies?

I know you think I am becoming repetitive on this particular point with respect to this particular magazine. And my answer is yes, I am repeating myself, I am repeating myself, but clearly, not nearly enough!

I feel I should be trying to explain the point in words of one syllable. But I can't: although "split" has only one syllable, I need other words like "infinitival" and "adverb" and "grammatical" and "mythical" and "atavistic" and "editor" and "fucking" and "moron" for which I find no really satisfying one-syllable synonyms.

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