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Språkkrönika: To have or not have to – that is the question

The word to seems to lately have had a lot of friends. There are many who worry that it is disappearing. If the fears would come true would be a great part-of-speech wiped out. That is the only infinitivmärke, a formord without its own importance, which stands in front of the verb.

the English word that has the same origin as the preposition to. Both have evolved out of its at. In spoken language pronounced that often on the. The writing is sometimes optional and sometimes necessary. That the word would disappear completely, and is therefore unlikely.

will. It asks the writer is faced with a choice: they will (to) clean the room. Other auxiliary – that can, must and will – is always written without: they can/must/want to clean the room.

There are also verbs that can be used both with, and without, begin, try, try, and stop: they started to/tried to/tried/ended (to) read the book. Here it is completely uncontroversial to scrap that. The practice is so established that many probably don't even notice it.

those who still want to minimize the risk to arouse the irritation should write the will. It is, however, not crouched for a lively språkdiskussion can lean against the Swedish dictionary published by the Swedish Academy, who writes that the variant without ”are now considered acceptable, albeit more informal”.

to skip. However, it is not a new phenomenon in the English language. An early example can be found in August Strindberg's collection of short stories ”Married” from 1884: ”As he's done in twelve years and so will he do to döddar.” Maybe he happened to just forget about that right here. August Strindberg wrote the otherwise consistently will.

Something that speaks to this use of that is moving away is that it is the younger writers who reject the word. How will the future (that) will tell.

anders@spraktidningen.se

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