A report on the BBC News website this morning, about Kraftâ€™s unsolicited takeover bid for Cadburyâ€™s, included a sentence containing the use of a verb in a way that jarred my syntax sensibilities.
The verb is â€˜spin,â€™ used by the BBC in the report in the sense of spinning something off, eg, a business:
â€˜Span offâ€™ when using the verb in this past tense looks most peculiar to me (and note that Iâ€™m not a grammar expert so forgive my non-use of technical terms: the correct term could be â€˜past pluperfectâ€™ for all I know).
Surely the expression should be â€˜spun offâ€™? So the sentence would then read â€œIt spun off its drinks division as a separate business last year.â€ That looks better. Is it correct verb usage though?
Not so sure about house style although I see Wedgeâ€™s other point (I think) regarding regional variations and continuous past and perfect past.
â€˜Spanâ€™ just doesnâ€™t look right to me. Is it my roots from southern England and, so, this regionâ€™s language and grammar-use influence?
What do you think? This is a heck of an itch to have :)
[Update @ 5:10pm UK] Just reading updates to the story on the BBC website â€“ itâ€™s a rapidly-developing business story â€“ I see that someone has had a re-think about that â€˜spanâ€™ past tense:
Now it says â€˜spun.â€™
Common sense applied.