31 examples: Is my split infinitive of a few lines ago any less (or more) intelligible, or… No other grammatical issue has so divided English speakers since the split infinitive was declared to be a solecism in the 19c [19th century]: raise the subject of English usage in any conversation today and it is sure to be mentioned. Wow. Do not put statements in the negative form. “Even in the twenty-first century, human beings are unable fully to comprehend the vastness and complexity of the universe. My English teacher said you can’t make a sentence with only nouns. "Good idea," I replied. To eat is Franklin the infinitive. Split Infinitive Joke [31][32], Others followed, among them Bache, 1869 ("The to of the infinitive mood is inseparable from the verb");[33] William B. Hodgson, 1889; and Raub, 1897 ("The sign to must not be separated from the remaining part of the infinitive by an intervening word").[34]. First, he’s an eagle scout and a history buff, and second he was the one with Star Trek perpetually on our analog (sans cable) TV. split infinitive. ISBN1-57586-400-2. R. L. Trask uses this example:[66]. [61] This recommendation, however, is weakened in the 12th edition. [This construction is just plain awkward. OK, now that I’ve ripped poor Lilith to shreds, I’ll try to walk it back a bit and say she’s a product of her genetics and upbringing (and maybe circuitry) and so it’s not fair to judge this harshly. Remember to never split an infinitive. It’d be better to say, “We should try to avoid splitting infinitives whenever possible.” Make sense? John Donne used them several times, though, and Samuel Pepys also used at least one. Split infinitive. Wycliff's Middle English compound split would, if transferred to modern English, be regarded by most people as un-English: Attempts to define the boundaries of normality are controversial. [30] However, the issue seems not to have attracted wider public attention until Henry Alford addressed it in his Plea for the Queen's English in 1864: A correspondent states as his own usage, and defends, the insertion of an adverb between the sign of the infinitive mood and the verb. Here are the grammar rules that have changed in the past ten years. In fact, it wants to get all up in to go’s business… like right smack in the middle of to and go. An adverb should not be placed between the verb of the infinitive mood and the preposition to, which governs it; as Patiently to wait—not To patiently wait. One personality swore he was a teepee and the other swore he was a wigwam. Now… let’s say some other word saunters up and wants in on this cozy action. A split infinitive is a grammatical construction in English in which an adverb or adverbial phrase is inserted between the to and the basic verb form. "[40] Heffernan and Lincoln, in their modern English composition textbook, agree with the above authors. ... she was afraid I would split her infinitive. Likewise, split infinitives are far more common in speech and informal writing than in academic writing. If you’re wondering how such a cool chick (ehem, me) has become so incredibly nerdy, you can blame my husband. But surely this is a practice entirely unknown to English speakers and writers. ), And so my friends, I’ll leave you with our bold split here: “A split infinitive walks into a bar… to boldly go where no infinitive has gone before.”, If we run the split infinitive test on the first part of this sentence, we’d get “Boldly to go where no man has gone before” or “To go boldly where no man has gone before.” Benjamin Dreyer has the best commentary about this, check it out. Following are some examples of infinitives next to split infinitives. Proofread carefully to see if you words out. Live long and prosper, nerds. Split infinitive is a former featured article.Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed. ], Even in the twenty-first century, human beings are unable to comprehend the vastness and complexity of the universe fully. And, when we have already a choice between two forms of expression, "scientifically to illustrate" and "to illustrate scientifically", there seems no good reason for flying in the face of common usage. To eat is Franklin the infinitive. Today’s grammar joke picks up the thread from the other week when we watched Gerry the gerund and Franklin the infinitive stroll into the bar. The split infinitive, specifically its famous use in the Star Trek opening sequence, is the basis of a joke from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "In those days men were real men, women were real women, small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri … Bunch of punks. I’d still rather sport a star fleet uniform in all its polyester glory than old, smelly marching band attire. In an example drawn from the British National Corpus the use of to not be against not to be is only 0.35% (from a total of 3121 sampled usages). The "to" infinitive was not split in Old or Early Middle English. As Richard Lederer puts it: "there is no precedent in these languages for condemning the split infinitive because in Greek and Latin (and all the other romance languages) the infinitive is a single word that is impossible to sever". [24][25][26], Possibly the earliest comment against split infinitives was by the American John Comly in 1803.[18]. George Bernard Shaw wrote letters to newspapers supporting writers who used the split infinitive and Raymond Chandler complained to the editor of The Atlantic about a proofreader who interfered with Chandler's split infinitives: By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss-waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will remain split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words of barroom vernacular, this is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed and attentive. Ein getrennter Infinitiv ist in der englischen Sprache eine grammatische Konstruktion, in der sich ein Wort oder eine Phrase – normalerweise ein Adverb oder eine adverbiale Phrase – zwischen to und der bloßen infinitiven Verbform (also der Grundform des Verbs) befindet. “We should try to whenever possible avoid splitting infinitives.” There’s a definite split between to and avoid. How to use split infinitive in a sentence. She functions more like an android than a full-fledged human. Follett, in Modern American Usage (1966) writes: "The split infinitive has its place in good composition. What is a split infinitive? Note that there is no grammatical rule, in the linguistic sense, against splitting an infinitive. Writers who avoid splitting infinitives either place the splitting element elsewhere in the sentence or reformulate the sentence, perhaps rephrasing it without an infinitive and thus avoiding the issue. If you’ve read of a few of these posts before you can probably guess where I’m going. Because the prohibition has become so widely known, the Columbia Guide recommends that writers "follow the conservative path [of avoiding split infinitives when they are not necessary], especially when you're uncertain of your readers' expectations and sensitivities in this matter". Fowler (1926) stressed that, if a sentence is to be rewritten to remove a split infinitive, this must be done without compromising the language: It is of no avail merely to fling oneself desperately out of temptation; one must so do it that no traces of the struggle remain; that is, sentences must be thoroughly remodeled instead of having a word lifted from its original place & dumped elsewhere …[65], In some cases, moving the adverbial creates an ungrammatical sentence or changes the meaning. With Melora Slover, Marcia Dangerfield, Devin Healey, David Jensen. The opening sequence of the Star Trek television series contains a well-known example, where William Shatner says "to boldly go where no man has gone before"; the adverb boldly is said to split the to-infinitive phrase, to go. Presumably, this would not have occurred in a prose text by the same author. Although it is sometimes reported that a prohibition on split infinitives goes back to Renaissance times, and frequently the 18th century scholar Robert Lowth is cited as the originator of the prescriptive rule,[23] such a rule is not to be found in Lowth's writing, and is not known to appear in any text before the 19th century. All content available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Licence v3 ... this is either a joke, or you have serious problems. If you’re now wondering if we’ll ever get to a punch line of any kind with this joke, the answer is… I’m working on it; hang in there. However, no such reservation applies to the following prose example from John Wycliffe (14th century), who often split infinitives:[6], After its rise in Middle English, the construction became rare in the 15th and 16th centuries. [1] https://getitwriteonline.com/articles/split-infinitives/. It’s looking to start a brawl and it means business. [56] For example, Curme's Grammar of the English Language (1931) says that not only is the split infinitive correct, but it "should be furthered rather than censured, for it makes for clearer expression". [18][19] The now rare cleft infinitive is almost as old, attested from 1893. For example we could have something like the following: ‘to boldly walk’. It's grammatically incorrect to actually use a split infinitive ︎ 5 ︎ 1 comment ︎ u/Korokus ︎ Oct 12 2019 ︎ report. There are occasions where more than one word splits the infinitive, such as: "The population is expected to more than double in the next ten years". A frequently discussed argument states that the split-infinitive prohibition is based on Latin. Directed by Stan Ferguson. This article is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic. Split infinitive used to be considered an error, but now it is becoming more acceptable even in formal writing. Share. Perhaps the best-known example of a split infinitive in popular culture is ‘To boldly go where no man has gone before’, spoken by Kirk at the start of Star Trek episodes. The earliest use of the term split infinitive on record dates from 1890. Pgs 10-11. There was frequent skirmishing between the splitters and anti-splitters until the 1960s. But if moving the modifier would ruin the rhythm, change the meaning or even just put the emphasis in the wrong place, splitting the infinitive is the best option."[63]. But more than that, we’ve got a split infinitive that’s completely avoidable with some super simple re-work. Split infinitives reappeared in the 18th century and became more common in the 19th. In large parts of the school system, the construction was opposed with ruthless vigour. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative." Possibly this is because the absence of an inflected infinitive form made it useful to include the particle in the citation form of the verb, and in some nominal constructions in which other Germanic languages would omit it (e.g. Saturday, April 7, 2012. [1] In traditional English grammar, the bare infinitive (e.g. To form to eat into a split infinitive, you can add an adverb, for example, barely, so that you will have, to barely eat. Following are some examples of infinitives next to split infinitives. Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/to-infinitive, "To Boldly Go: Star Trek & the Split Infinitive", "Oxford Languages | The Home of Language Data", "Split infinitives : Oxford Dictionaries Online", "The ban on split infinitives is an idea whose time never came", "Homework Help and Textbook Solutions | bartleby", "Infl in Early Modern English and the status of, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Split_infinitive&oldid=995014739, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. [18] According to the main etymological dictionaries, infinitive-splitting and infinitive-splitter followed in 1926 and 1927, respectively. Split infinitive is like: We want to quicky see the result. With a slight change in meaning: she could have a teddy bear collection without having collected it herself, e.g., if she bought it in its entirety. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. Split infinitive definition: A split infinitive is a structure in which an adverb is put between 'to' and the... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples Today, according to the American Heritage Book of English Usage, "people split infinitives all the time without giving it a thought". go) is extended by the particle to in order to produce the to-infinitive phrase (sometimes termed a full infinitive), to go. As a result, the debate took on a degree of passion which the bare facts of the matter never warranted. A second argument is summed up by Alford's statement "It seems to me that we ever regard the to of the infinitive as inseparable from its verb. But what is the case in the sentence below called? However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. An early proposed rule proscribing the split infinitive, which was expressed by an anonymous author in the New-England Magazine in 1834, was based on the purported observation that it was a feature of a form of English commonly used by uneducated persons but not by "good authors". Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. ^ Huddleston, Rodney names to show that they were learned. The teacher explained: “The word “slap” can be used as an action, a game, and a joke. [31] split infinitive definition: 1. a phrase in which an adverb or other word is put between "to" and an infinitive. I want to split up." [58], Nevertheless, many teachers of English still admonish students against using split infinitives in writing. Examples include "We pray you to proceed/ And justly and religiously unfold..." 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