[Ads-l] Punchline: A thing up with which I will not put (July 31, 1941)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 18 23:35:21 UTC 2020

The joke was linked to Winston Churchill by October 9, 1943 although
this instance did not include the set-up of the gag mentioning

[ref] 1943 October 9, The Nottingham Journal, Russians Forcing
Decisive Last Battle: Basic English, Quote Page 2, Column 6 and 7,
Nottinghamshire, England. (British Newspaper Archive) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Perhaps a recent memorandum circulated among members of the Government
has influenced the decision to “streamline” the Civil Service. The
document was prolix and written in a heavy and pedantic  style. From
one reading it emerged with the following note over the initials

“This memorandum is written in pompous English up with which I will not put.”
[End excerpt]

Correspondent Braddon Upex also sent this citation mentioning Churchill.

[ref] 1944 January 21, The Herald, Return Of The Warhorse by Geoffrey
Tebbutt, Quote Page 4, Column 6 and 7, Melbourne, Australia. (Trove
National Library of Australia) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Recently I had a note from a colleague in London quoting the story
then going the rounds of a devastating retort made by the Prime
Minister. To a long and flatulent report, he is said to have appended
the following minute:

"This is an example of pompous and bastard English up with which I
will not put."
[End excerpt]


On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 4:49 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> The Quote Investigator website has an article about a famous Churchill
> anecdote concerning the placement of prepositions.
> This Is the Sort of Nonsense Up With Which I Will Not Put
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/07/04/churchill-preposition/
> A kind correspondent named Braddon Upex recently told me about a new
> earlier citation for the joke which he had located.
> [ref] 1941 July 31, The West Sussex Gazette, Our Comment and Gossip:
> Things in General, Quote Page 4, Column 2, Sussex, England. (British
> Newspaper Archive) [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> The story is told of an English master from a high school who was
> called up, received a commission, and found himself in official
> correspondence over military matters with a superior officer. The
> superior, who was something of a martinet, precise in matters of
> composition, "ticked off" his junior for ending a sentence with a
> preposition. Whereupon the junior, in his reply, while acknowledging
> himself the obedient servant of his superior in matters affecting his
> military duties, declined to take orders from him in respect of his
> use of the English language. This, he announced, was "a thing up with
> which I will not put". Perhaps he has learnt otherwise since!
> [End excerpt]
> I've updated the QI article, but it may take a few hours before the
> updated version propagates through the distributed delivery system.
> Garson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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