LOG IN / REGISTER




re: Various thoughts and quotes, including a quote from Shaw on split infinitives
Posted by: AlanScott 03:51 am EDT 04/05/21
In reply to: re: Various thoughts and quotes, including a quote from Shaw on split infinitives - Michael_Portantiere 01:34 pm EDT 04/03/21

Some experts who think the prohibition is silly and invalid might say something like this:

There is no prohibition on using split infinitives but neither is it especially desirable. Sometimes splitting infinitives can lead to a sentence that lacks clarity or is clumsy (or both). Sometimes not splitting infinitives can lead to a sentence that lacks clarity or is clumsy (or both). There is always the option of recasting but sometimes that leads to something verbose and unnecessarily complicated. If the best solution is to split, then split, but usually it is not the best option.

I just basically summarized what Fowler writes in his last section discussing split infinitives. At the link you can find the whole entry on split infinitives.

There are those who say something like this:

Avoid splitting infinitives because if you split there will be people who think you’re ignorant or careless.

That seems a bit silly, but if, say, you’re writing a cover letter for a job or submitting an article to someone who doesn’t already know your writing, it’s probably good advice.

I admit to not being sure why even some grammar experts who say that it is fine to split infinitives if that will give you the best sentence also say that as a general rule it is also best to avoid splitting. I think the reason may be because most of the time not splitting gives you a better sentence but I’m not 100-percent sure that’s the reason. I certainly understand the reasoning that you should avoid it because people will think you’re ignorant or careless.
Link Fowler on split infinitives
reply

Previous: re: Various thoughts and quotes, including a quote from Shaw on split infinitives - Michael_Portantiere 01:34 pm EDT 04/03/21
Next: re: I think the ideal correction would be . . . - Michael_Portantiere 02:34 pm EDT 04/02/21
Thread:

    Privacy Policy


    Time to render: 0.008918 seconds.