Monday, April 22, 2013
A split infinitive is when an adverb or adverbial phrase is placed between the word to and its companion verb.
Most common example of breaking this rule comes from Star Trek: "To boldy go where no man has gone before."
Sometimes the meaning or emphasis can change when the split infinitive is fixed. For example:
You have to really monitor the gauge on the pressure valve.
You really have to monitor the gauge on the pressure valve.
Where's the emphasis placed in each sentence? In the first example, the importance is monitoring the gauge. In the second example, it would seem only you can handle the job.
Researching this topic, I discovered there is quite a bit of controversy regarding split infinitives. Some people say you should NEVER break this rule, while others say its an archaic rule based on Latin structure and isn't always applicable to current day usage in the English language.
What you think?
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If I start thinking to hard about them it hurts my brain. I do think that it's okay to break it sometimes as long as you know what you're doing and don't go overboard. A nice happy medium.ReplyDelete
Hmmm... I'm not sure that I'm completely aware when I use them. I'll have to start paying more attention to them.ReplyDelete
I'd say it's okay to break the rule sometimes. It all depends on the scene you are writing.ReplyDelete
I am a breaker of this rule. To really understand this, try scanning your documents for 'ly ' (note the space).ReplyDelete
To humbly apologize.
To honestly provide feedback.
To painstakingly avoid.
To honorably speak of. <---- Oops, ended with a preposition. lol
I constantly break this rule. ;) It may also be linked to my tendency to use a more passive voice though.ReplyDelete
Some adverbs really lend themselves to a split infinitive, like the word "merely." In fact, I can't think of any other time you would use this in adverb form. Can you?
Although I'm a bit of a "grammar Nazi," I don't mind split infinitives if they're done well. If they're used too often, then I might mind.ReplyDelete
I'm in the "it's okay to break every once in a while" camp.ReplyDelete
I definitely think it can be used in dialogue. It's broken so frequently that maybe it shouldn't be a rule any more.ReplyDelete