Try Not to Split Infinitives

What is a split infinitive, you ask?

Well, there is an infinitive in the title of this tip: “to split.”

I could have used a split infinitive there: Try to Not Split Infinitives

Here, the word “not” comes between the word “to” and the bare infinitive “split,” thereby splitting the two-word infinitive.

One of the most famous split infinitives of all time comes from the Star Trek TV show:

“… to boldly go where no man has ever gone before.”

Here the word “boldly” splits the infinitive “to go.”

Shakespeare could have split his infinitive in the famous Hamlet line:

“To be, or not to be? That is the question.”

If he had split it, it would have been: “To be, or to not be,” which would have messed up his iambic pentameter completely.

I have read an awful lot of gushy marketing press releases containing gobs of split infinitives.

Bad Example:

“This software gives users the ability to seamlessly integrate with SAP.”

It sounds much better if you say “to integrate seamlessly,” and most split infinitives can be reworded by moving the adverb to immediately after the infinitive – unless you can’t do it without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Sometimes it’s simply OK to use a split infinitive. The Star Trek one is a good example.

Another Good Example:

“We plan to more than double production from that field next year.”


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