One of the comments of a colleague on ‘LinkedIn’ inspired me to write this week’s blog.
Most of us were taught (if we were taught grammar at all) never to split infinitives. When you split an infinitive, you put something (usually an adverb) between the two parts: the well-known example which occurred in the opening sequence of Star Trek television series: “to boldly go where no man has gone before”.
A split infinitive is still the subject of disagreement among English speakers as to whether it is grammatically correct or good style. No other grammatical issue has so divided English speakers since the split infinitive was introduced in the 19th century. However, most modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to the split infinitive. They agree there is no justification to avoid a split infinitive. But sometimes, a split infinitive sounds clumsy. It can also change the emphasis of a sentence.
The UK ‘Telegraph’ published a post, some time ago, criticising someone’s ignorance for splitting an infinitive. The paper eventually offered a more enlightened approach. However, they were not out of the fire yet, critics said the newspaper shouldn’t have had to correct such an old-fashioned commentary in the first place.
I try to avoid split infinitives when I use descriptions in my books, (old school habits die hard. or is it brainwashing?) but I allow my characters in my books to use them when they talk. Who doesn’t use them when they talk? I happily know I do!!!