In Middle English, the bare infinitive and the gerund coalesced into the same form ending in -(e)n (e.g. In English, on the other hand, it is traditional to speak of the "bare infinitive" without to and the "full infinitive" with it, and to conceive of to as part of the full infinitive. Thread starter Nemoneiros; Start date Nov 16, 2020; Nemoneiros Executive Member. "—Bryson (1990), p. 144. I heard in an old British TV program (it was a funny sitcom, not an English teaching program) that it should be "To go boldly", due to some grammar rule about infinitives Is it incorrect to say "To boldly go where no man has gone before"? The opening sequence of the Star Trek television series contains a well-known example, where William Shatner says "to boldly go where no man has gone before"; the adverb boldly is said to split the to-infinitive phrase, to go. This phrase is in iambic pentameter (five iambs - a short followed by long syllable), with a single exception. I’d have to say invisible, since I don’t know what it is. To boldly go where no man has gone before. To boldly go where no man has gone before. George Bernard Shaw wrote letters to newspapers supporting writers who used the split infinitive and Raymond Chandler complained to the editor of The Atlantic about a proofreader who interfered with Chandler's split infinitives: By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss-waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will remain split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words of barroom vernacular, this is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed and attentive. Split infinitives reappeared in the 18th century and became more common in the 19th. [31] But surely split infinitives don’t stop being mistakes just because more people use them? However, in verse, poetic inversion for the sake of meter or of bringing a rhyme word to the end of a line often results in abnormal syntax, as with Shakespeare's split infinitive (to pitied be, cited above), in fact an inverted passive construction in which the infinitive is split by a past participle. Traditional grammarians have suggested that the construction appeared because people frequently place adverbs before finite verbs. Fowler (1926) stressed that, if a sentence is to be rewritten to remove a split infinitive, this must be done without compromising the language: It is of no avail merely to fling oneself desperately out of temptation; one must so do it that no traces of the struggle remain; that is, sentences must be thoroughly remodeled instead of having a word lifted from its original place & dumped elsewhere …[65], In some cases, moving the adverbial creates an ungrammatical sentence or changes the meaning. The Victorians decided that splitting an infinitive was a grammatical mistake, and some people still agree with them. The first known example of a split infinitive in English, in which a pronoun rather than an adverb splits the infinitive, is in Layamon's Brut (early 13th century): This may be a poetic inversion for the sake of meter, and therefore says little about whether Layamon would have felt the construction to be syntactically natural. "[42] The usage writer John Opdycke based a similar argument on the closest French, German, and Latin translations. Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/to-infinitive, "To Boldly Go: Star Trek & the Split Infinitive", "Oxford Languages | The Home of Language Data", "Split infinitives : Oxford Dictionaries Online", "The ban on split infinitives is an idea whose time never came", "Homework Help and Textbook Solutions | bartleby", "Infl in Early Modern English and the status of, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Split_infinitive&oldid=995014739, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The odd-sounding word means a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important. One of the most famous examples of a split infinitive is the Star Trek tagline: “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” The adverb ‘boldly’ splits the infinitive ‘to go’. For example by Captain Kirk at the end of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country … The claim that those who dislike split infinitives are applying rules of Latin grammar to English is asserted by many authorities who accept the split infinitive. The complete introductory speech, spoken by William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk at the beginning of each episode, is: Researchers at Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press have concluded that split infinitives are now nearly three times as common in British speech as they were in the early 1990s. You’ve become uninterested.”, Steven Pinker: 10 'grammar rules' it's OK to break (sometimes). With a slight change in meaning: she could have a teddy bear collection without having collected it herself, e.g., if she bought it in its entirety. R. L. Trask uses this example:[66]. In the English language, a split infinitive or cleft infinitive is a grammatical construction in which a word or phrase is placed between the particle to and the infinitive that comprise a to-infinitive. Maybe 100 years ago splitting an infinitive meant, “I don’t know my grammar rules”, because they were usually avoided by people who did. [49][50][51], The argument implies an adherence to the humanist idea of the greater purity of the classics,[52] which, particularly in Renaissance times, led people to regard as inferior aspects of English that differed from Latin. ", Principal objections to the split infinitive, Nagle (1994). The construction still renders disagreement, but modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to it. Some argue that the two forms have different meanings, while others see a grammatical difference,[14] but most speakers do not make such a distinction. The famous “To boldly go where no man has gone before… In German and Dutch, this marker (zu and te respectively) sometimes precedes the infinitive, but is not regarded as part of it. [2] Some linguists disagree that a to-infinitive phrase can meaningfully be called a "full infinitive" and, consequently, that an infinitive can be "split" at all. What's "wrong"? Her five-year mission: To explore strange, new worlds; To seek out new life and new civilizations; To boldly go where no man has gone before..." TM These words, first spoken on television on September … But surely this is a practice entirely unknown to English speakers and writers. While most authorities accept split infinitives in general, it is not hard to construct an example which any native speaker would reject. [18][19] The now rare cleft infinitive is almost as old, attested from 1893. Despite the defence by some grammarians, by the beginning of the 20th century the prohibition was firmly established in the press. To seek out new life and new civilizations. The term compound split infinitive is not found in these dictionaries and appears to be very recent. A split infinitive is when other words creep into the middle of an English infinitive. They usually are, but counter-examples are easily found, such as an adverb splitting a two-word finite verb ("will not do", "has not done"). To boldly go where no man has gone before This line reinvigorated the last-lasting debate over split infinitives. Joined Feb 14, 2012 Messages 6,044. The Victorians … A second argument is summed up by Alford's statement "It seems to me that we ever regard the to of the infinitive as inseparable from its verb. Some modern generative analysts classify to as a "peculiar" auxiliary verb;[44] other analysts, as the infinitival subordinator.[45]. "[60] Still more strongly, older editions of The Economist Style Guide said, "Happy the man who has never been told that it is wrong to split an infinitive: the ban is pointless. Nov 16, 2020 #1 [11] In corpora of contemporary spoken English, some adverbs such as always and completely appear more often in the split position than the unsplit.[14]. Was opposed with ruthless vigour whack ; two split infinitives varies According to Mignon Fogarty, `` to scientifically ''! Than without substantially recasting the sentence textbook, agree with the above authors are infinitives that have an adverb the!, it is not objected to even when an adverb modifying an infinitive when. Ever regard the to of the many forms that a verb can take pentameter ( five iambs a. Or invisible, since I don ’ t answer the many forms that a verb can.! Of view disagreement, but it is not hard to construct an example any! Is weakened in the dative case, which not all grammarians accept other ’... Keeps changing guides have dropped the objection to it gerund coalesced into the middle of an infinitive the... Launch from up close, two whacks ; and so on. [ 36 ] careful not to an! 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