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Splitting Infinitives?



More 17th/18th-Century Nonsense

This one's easy, a gram dunk (i.e., grammatical slam dunk).

In 1998 the good folks at the Oxford English Dictionary (to the rescue!) formally declared that the grammar-bully favorite Do not split infinitives was never a valid rule of English grammar and usage.

That's right, kids. It was never a rule.

No surprise, once again the culprit is our friend, Latin Fetish. And like all those Latin-fetish-inspired rules, there was no point to the prohibition other than it was thought to make our English more like Latin. Translation: There is no good reason for the prohibition.

So boldly go where you will and split with confidence.


Postscript. Actually, there are some who claim that the word to is technically not part of the infinitive, just as zu isn't considered part of the infinitive in German (the only foreign language I have any familiarity with). So for them, there was never any way to split the infinitive to begin with.
Post-postscript. See how I ended those two sentences with the preposition with? Thanks, Emily!


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