Split Infinitives

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Split Infinitives :

If there is one error in writing that your boss or history prof can and will pick up on, it's the notorious split infinitive. An infinitive is said to be "split" when a word (often an adverb) or phrase sneaks between the to of the infinitive and the root of the verb: "to boldly go," being the most famous of its kind. The argument against split infinitives (based on rather shaky historical grounds) is that the infinitive is a single unit and, therefore, should not be divided. Because it raises so many readers' hackles and is so easy to spot, good writers, at least in academic prose, avoid the split infinitive. Instead of writing "She expected her grandparents to not stay," then, we could write "She expected her grandparents not to stay." Sometimes, though, avoiding the split infinitive simply isn't worth the bother. There is nothing wrong, really, with a sentence such as the following:
    He thinks he'll be able to more than double his salary this year.

The Oxford American Desk Dictionary, which came out in October of 1998, says that the rule against the split infinitive can generally be ignored, that the rule "is not firmly grounded, and treating two English words as one can lead to awkward, stilted sentences." ("To Boldly Go," The Hartford Courant. 15 Oct 1998.) Opinion among English instructors and others who feel strongly about the language remains divided, however. Today's dictionaries allow us to split the infinitive, but it should never be done at the expense of grace. Students would be wise to know their instructor's feelings on the matter, workers their boss's.

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