Ozy And Millie: Split infinitives

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  11 comments for “Ozy And Millie: Split infinitives

    • It’s the splitting of an infinitive verb phrase, usually with an adverb.

      For example, in “To boldly go where no man has gone before,” “To boldly go” is a split infinitive. In a non-split infinitive way, you’d say “To go boldly where no man has gone before.”

    • The classic example is “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Inserting a word between “to” and “go” makes it a split infinitive. The classically grammatical version would be “to go boldly where no man has gone before.” Although I think that still ends with a preposition, so that’s another issue. 😉

      • The classically grammatical version is ‘to boldly go’. It wasn’t until some Latin-obsessed dorks in the mid nineteenth century that it was claimed to be ungrammatical.

        • The point of Latin and split infinitives is that it is impossible to split an infinitive in Latin because the infinitive was part of a form of the word…the word ended in something like -re. It would be like splitting a plural in English…”two cat black s” instead of “two black cats”.

          • Latin uses case, so word order is relatively unimportant. English doesn’t use case (except in the case of first and third person pronouns, dog only knows why), so word order is far more important. “My dog bit the mailman” and “My mailman bit the dog” use exactly the same words, but mean vastly different things.
            While I’m generally a bit of a prescriptivist, I personally find the split infinitive rule silly and pointless. Split infinitives are rarely confusing and often roll off the tongue a bit more smoothly than a “grammatically correct” construction. So I intend to boldly split infinitives in the future, just as I have in the past.

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