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“it” after the word “known”

This is what I’d like to have engraved on a memorial brick, but the last line doesn’t look correct with the word “it” after “known”.

I’m glad most
folks let me know
they’re religious.
By their actions,
I wouldn’t have
ever known it.

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Personally, I would go for "I wouldn't ever have known."

But it's pretty subjective, really.

A purist would say, "I wouldn't ever have known it," on account of the split infinitive in the original (HAVE [ever] KNOWN].

dave February 8, 2009, 4:41am

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You could go with "I wouldn't have ever known so", as well.

Mongoose February 8, 2009, 12:23pm

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"have ever known" is not a split infinitive. There's no infinitive here.

"I wouldn't have ever known it" sounds fine to me.

John February 8, 2009, 3:42pm

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"I wouldn't have ever known it" sounds fine to me, too. That's probably since the phrase, "I wouldn't have known it" is a fairly common one. I am not one to quibble about splitting up verbs from the objects they work upon. Always seemed to me to be a rule that led to awkward-sounding results. Apparently came from some purists' idealism of Latin being applied to, of all things, English. I think your text is not only grammatically fine, but it's a great sentiment. Well-stated, symmetrical and a sort of poetry.

John Kelly February 8, 2009, 5:27pm

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teamcasino February 9, 2009, 8:37am

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"Known it" sounds strange to me too, even if it works. The "it" seems to put too fine a point on the knowledge of someone's belief system, traditions, and affiliation. The word "that" actually seems more appropriate than "it" but I would certainly drop it in favor of the more poetic "I wouldn't have ever known."

I must point out however, because I'm self-absorbed enough to assume you care what I think, that the entire statement makes no sense.

Bill February 11, 2009, 4:09am

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"It" is superfluous. It adds no meaning, takes up space, and so should be omitted. I agree that "it" is correct, but it's unnecessary.

It's not an infinitive, by the way. :)

Steeeverino February 16, 2009, 12:57pm

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@ bill

the statement she is making breaks down to the following: if the people she [victoria] met in her life had never brought up the fact that they were religious, she [victoria] would never have been able to deduce said religious affiliation through their [the people she met in her life] actions.


i do agree that the last line sounds better without the final 'it'

steven tyler March 1, 2009, 3:47pm

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I would have written "I would never have known"
To write ;- " wouldn't ever" is to make the sentence over complicated. Never means not ever and the it is superflous to the sense of the sentence.

TC March 1, 2009, 11:58pm

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