What are a Split Infinitive Occurs When a Word or Group of Words is Inserted the Two Parts of an Infinitive
As a writer, it’s essential to have a good grasp of grammar rules to communicate your ideas effectively. One of the most common grammatical mistakes is the split infinitive, which occurs when a word or group of words is inserted between “to” and the main verb of the infinitive. For instance, the phrase “to boldly go” contains a split infinitive because the adverb “boldly” interrupts the verb “go.”
Although some people may think that split infinitives are grammatically incorrect, they are generally acceptable in modern English usage. However, it’s essential to use them judiciously because excessive splitting can make the sentence sound awkward and disrupt the flow of the text. Moreover, in formal writing, such as academic papers and legal documents, it may be preferable to avoid split infinitives to adhere to a more traditional writing style.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what the split infinitive is, why it’s problematic, and how to use it correctly to enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your writing. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a beginner, understanding how to use the split infinitive can help you elevate your writing skills.
Discover more similar content in our next post!
A Split Infinitive Occurs When a Word or Group of Words is Inserted the Two Parts of an Infinitive
A split infinitive occurs when a word or group of words is inserted between the two parts of an infinitive, which is made up of the word “to” followed by a verb’s base form. This split can lead to ambiguity or confusion in meaning and can affect the tone of a sentence. Here are some common examples of split infinitives:
- To boldly go where no man has gone before. In this famous split infinitive from Star Trek, the adverb “boldly” splits the infinitive “to go.” While some people believe that split infinitives should always be avoided, this phrase has become widely accepted and is often used for emphasis.
- I decided to quickly finish my homework. In this sentence, the adverb “quickly” is placed between the infinitive “to” and the verb “finish.” While this split is grammatically incorrect, it is a common mistake made by native and non-native speakers alike.
- She tried to carefully cross the street. Here, the adverb “carefully” splits the infinitive “to cross.” While this split modifies the verb and adds clarity to the sentence, it may not be considered grammatically correct in formal writing.
- He managed to successfully complete the project. In this example, the adverb “successfully” splits the infinitive “to complete.” This split may be considered unnecessary, as the adverb can be placed at the beginning or end of the sentence without affecting its meaning.
- They wanted to really impress their boss. The adverb “really” splits the infinitive “to impress” in this sentence. While this split may be considered nonstandard, it conveys a more informal tone and can add emphasis to the verb.
In conclusion, while split infinitives may be considered grammatically incorrect in formal writing, they are often used in informal speech and accepted in certain situations for emphasis or clarity. Care should be taken to avoid splitting infinitives unnecessarily and to use split infinitives in an appropriate context.
Avoiding Split Infinitives: Tips and Techniques
A split infinitive occurs when a word or group of words is inserted between the two parts of an infinitive, typically by placing an adverb before the verb. While split infinitives are often considered grammatically incorrect, it is not uncommon to use them in everyday language. However, if you want to write professionally and avoid criticism, it’s best to avoid split infinitives altogether. Here are some tips and techniques for avoiding split infinitives.
Rearrange the Sentence
One of the easiest ways to avoid split infinitives is to rearrange the sentence. This may involve changing the word order or even using a different verb altogether. For example, instead of saying “to boldly go where no man has gone before,” you could say “to go boldly where no man has gone before.”
Use a Different Adverb
If you want to use an adverb before the verb, try using a different adverb that doesn’t split the infinitive. For example, instead of saying “to quickly run,” you could say “to run quickly.”
Use a Different Verb Tense
Another option is to use a different verb tense that doesn’t require an adverb. For example, instead of saying “to eat quickly,” you could say “to eat quickly” or “to have a quick meal.”
Use a Prepositional Phrase
Instead of using an adverb, you can also use a prepositional phrase to convey the same meaning. For example, instead of saying “to boldly go,” you could say “to go with boldness.”
In conclusion, split infinitives can be a subtle but significant mistake for writers to make. By paying attention to sentence structure and using these tips and techniques, you can effectively avoid split infinitives and improve the clarity of your writing.