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Not to like seeing so many split infinitives in AIBU?

(70 Posts)
SomethingOnce Wed 31-Dec-14 00:28:29

Most negative AIBUs begin, 'To not'.

If at least one other person is with me on this, I'll sleep a little easier.

(And don't bother directing me to Pedants' Corner.)

clary Wed 31-Dec-14 00:35:24

Yes I agree and I go round the houses sometimes in a sentence to avoid splitting an infinitive.

I need quickly to go and get a cup of tea is what I would say rather than I need to quickly go aaaargh can't bear to write it even!

Not many people agree with me tho sad and that includes the very linguistically aware head of English at my school.

LuckyLuckyMe Wed 31-Dec-14 00:38:28

My grammar is atrocious but I know what you mean grin

AgentZigzag Wed 31-Dec-14 00:40:43

Don't let the door to NMs hit you on the way out...


Spinaroo Wed 31-Dec-14 00:59:06

It is not actually wrong to deliberately split an infinitive wink. Some people just don't like it

YonicSleighdriver Wed 31-Dec-14 01:01:14


Maybe hide AIBU and see if Chat is better?

TalesOfTheCity Wed 31-Dec-14 01:02:36


"Not many people agree with me tho"
There's a reason for that.

"and that includes the very linguistically aware head of English at my school."
Well, quite smile

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Wed 31-Dec-14 01:03:50

Spinaroo is right.
You don't deserve to to be in Pedants' Corner OP grin

WhyYouGottaBeSoRude Wed 31-Dec-14 01:08:03

I'd never heard of splitting infinitives until i joined MN. As in, i didnt know it was wrong.

SomethingOnce Wed 31-Dec-14 01:13:03

I don't even mind split infinitives that much anywhere else, but for some reason it's really jarring in AIBU thread titles.

Joshuajosephspork Wed 31-Dec-14 01:14:42

YABU. It's a made up rule which bears no relation to the way people speak and write. Splitting the infinitive often adds clarity and euphony to a sentence. And if we are being pedantic the 'to' is not actually a part of the infinitive but simply serves as a marker.

SomethingOnce Wed 31-Dec-14 01:35:27

Mmmm, euphony! What a lovely word and new to me.

[crap-AIBU-pays-dividend happy face]

borisgudanov Wed 31-Dec-14 02:14:15

Splitting the infinitive became acceptable when a certain starship undertook its five-year mission to boldly go where no-one had been before. Somehow "boldly to go" and "to go boldly" don't feel right.

Normally in these situations there is a semantic difference between the possible word orders, since language abhors a synonym. If the adverb goes first, it might be taken to qualify the previous verb: "they asked us boldly to go", boldly applies to asked rather than to go. Between the other word orders the difference seems to be of emphasis: "they asked us to boldly go", they asked us to go, and by the way we should go boldly; "they asked us to go boldly", they asked us to go but to be jolly sure of going boldly and not, say, weedily.

If you reckon there's a semantic difference between the "incorrect" word order and the "correct" ones, then saying "to boldly go" isn't U IMHO.

Other Germanic languages have similar infinitive constructions. Split the infinitive in German though and you will be red-pencilled. ("Zu" means "too" as well as "to", so "zu kühn" is 'too bold(ly)'. Also, if the verb is separable, "zu" becomes an infix in the unseparated form: aufbauen - aufzubauen; whereas in English separable verbs are always separated: 'to build up').

LiberalPedant Wed 31-Dec-14 02:33:09

Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows
Thy pity may deserve to pitied be (Shakespeare, Sonnet 142)

SoftSheen Wed 31-Dec-14 03:25:27

YABU. There is no formal grammatical rule which says you cannot split an infinitive, and in some cases doing so may lead to greater clarity.

SurfsUp1 Wed 31-Dec-14 04:27:47

How long before Euphony appears on a baby-name thread?

herintheredskirt Wed 31-Dec-14 04:31:15

Can you please explain a bit further ?(grammar was not taught when I was in high school)

KatieKaye Wed 31-Dec-14 06:26:34

An artificial rule imposed in Victorian times by grammarians who reasoned that as it is not possible to split an infinitive in Latin, then the same should apply to English despite the fact it is perfectly possible to do so.

The pseudo "rule" is illogical and widely discredited. Probably including that linguistically aware Head of English. Language is about communication so why make a message unnecessarily convoluted and risk lessening the impact of that message or even obscuring the meaning completely?

DropYourSword Wed 31-Dec-14 06:32:46

It sounds better to me. I also couldn't give a shit about the lesser/fewer uproar.

Although I am a total pedant about a lot, their, there and they're!

herintheredskirt Wed 31-Dec-14 06:46:52

I'm going to have to Google infinitives for beginners.

herintheredskirt Wed 31-Dec-14 06:49:27

Lol I just did and it came up as a search suggestion .

Iggly Wed 31-Dec-14 06:57:42

Their, they're and there pedantry isn't quite the same as split infinity rage. The former is either right or wrong. The latter is not.

Yabu OP. You sound like one of those people who have learnt a little bit of the grammatical rules and are so insecure, they get joy out of sneering at others.

dangerrabbit Wed 31-Dec-14 07:01:53


DuchessDisaster Wed 31-Dec-14 07:30:04

I shudder at split infinitives, but what really sends me into orbit is the "lack of awareness" on the correct use of participles, including forming past tenses of verbs.

DoJo Wed 31-Dec-14 08:21:19

This seems to be coming round more and more frequently on here and nobody has yet come up with a real reason to avoid splitting an infinitive. OP - will you be the first?

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