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Split Infinitives

(10 Posts)
5DollarShake Thu 28-Oct-10 13:16:48

What's the received wisdom - are they ever appropriate?

Some sentences sound so clumsy when you don't split. confused

MardyBra Thu 28-Oct-10 14:50:16

Depends on the context. The whole split infinitive is an arbitary rule invented by some pedants a few centuries ago, mainly based on the fact that the infinitive cannot be split in Latin, and therefore it shouldn't be split in English.

In a formal document, I would try to avoid split infinitives on the grounds that they might upset some pedant and distract from any point I was trying to make. In more informal situations, a split infinitive is more acceptable and sometimes even desirable IMO.

"To boldly go" packs a bit more of a punch than "to go boldly".

pickledbabe Thu 28-Oct-10 14:52:22

There are no rules to say you shouldn't split one - it was made up by toffs at some reading society (or something...) because latin verbs can't be split.

but as we're the only language (i know of ) that has 2 words for a verb, then I say do it.

It makes our language so much more versatile!

wem Thu 28-Oct-10 14:55:09

I have no problem with split infinitives. My pedantry is reserved for grammatical errors that affect the sense of what someone is writing. Misplaced apostrophes or hyphens, or 'there' instead of 'their' make it harder to read and understand quickly. Split infinitives don't do that, in fact I think they generally make things flow more easily - as above, 'to boldly go' sounds better that the rather clumsy 'to go boldly'.

wem Thu 28-Oct-10 14:57:07

Damn, can't post in pedants' corner without a typo.

better than

tb Mon 01-Nov-10 15:24:21

Dutch does too, it's te xxxx from memory, such as te hoor for 'to let' notices on houses.

StealthPolarBear Mon 01-Nov-10 15:28:28

"to go boldly" isn't the only other option though, you could have "boldly to go"

pickledbabe Mon 01-Nov-10 15:28:51

thank you, tb, i was hoping someone would know one.

do they split infinitives too?

muddleduck Tue 02-Nov-10 12:17:21

It depends why you are a pedant.

If you are a pedant because you want people to realise how well educated you are then avoid splitting your infinitives.

If you are a pedant because you like language to be clear and accurate then infinitive splitting is just fine.

5DollarShake Sat 13-Nov-10 09:17:47

Thanks everyone - sorry I haven't been back to this thread.

I shall split with impunity then. grin

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