go) is extended by the particle to in order to produce the to-infinitive phrase (sometimes termed a full infinitive), to go. Now, researchers says, there is good reason to consign the rule to history, Last modified on Tue 19 Jun 2018 12.19 BST. Examples in the poems of Robert Burns attest its presence also in 18th-century Scots: In colloquial speech the construction came to enjoy widespread use. He gives as an instance, "to scientifically illustrate". In Middle English, the bare infinitive and the gerund coalesced into the same form ending in -(e)n (e.g. Most publications and writers simply seem to go with what sounds better—"to go boldly where no man has gone before" just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? The split infinitive is sometimes more dramatic and poetic than other constructions. With William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Gary Lockwood, Sally Kellerman.  Likewise, the Oxford Dictionaries do not regard the split infinitive as ungrammatical, but on balance consider it likely to produce a weak style and advise against its use for formal correspondence. " Heffernan and Lincoln, in their modern English composition textbook, agree with the above authors. Even as these authorities were condemning the split infinitive, others were endorsing it: Brown, 1851 (saying some grammarians had criticized it and it was less elegant than other adverb placements but sometimes clearer); Hall, 1882; Onions, 1904; Jespersen, 1905; and Fowler and Fowler, 1906. It is this :—The particle, TO, which comes before the verb in the infinitive mode, must not be separated from it by the intervention of an adverb or any other word or phrase; but the adverb should immediately precede the particle, or immediately follow the verb.. As a result, the debate took on a degree of passion which the bare facts of the matter never warranted. To boldly go where no man has gone before. go) is extended by the particle to in order to produce the to-infinitive phrase (sometimes termed a full infinitive), to go. Nowadays most grammar guides will tell you to avoid doing this when possible, but there are times when it's okay. And correcting other people’s means: “I prefer being right to being kind.” Exactly. It seems to me, that we ever regard the to of the infinitive as inseparable from its verb. to know her is to love her). James A. W. Heffernan and John E. Lincoln. If I say, “It is nice to know more than you” then “to know” is the infinitive of the verb know. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new WORDS, to seek out new grammatical constructions, to boldly go where no one has gone before. , Possibly the earliest comment against split infinitives was by the American John Comly in 1803.. tō cumenne = "coming, to come").. 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. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. ", The to in the infinitive construction, which is found throughout the Germanic languages, is originally a preposition before the dative of a verbal noun, but in the modern languages it is widely regarded as a particle which serves as a marker of the infinitive. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English notes that the split infinitive "eliminates all possibility of ambiguity", in contrast to the "potential for confusion" in an unsplit construction. Nov 5, 2019 - Explore Rebecka Anderson's board "To boldly go where no man has gone before", followed by 106 people on Pinterest. There are occasions where more than one word splits the infinitive, such as: "The population is expected to more than double in the next ten years". Wycliff's Middle English compound split would, if transferred to modern English, be regarded by most people as un-English: Attempts to define the boundaries of normality are controversial. More on Genius. 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. Highly logical, captain: Star Trek’s ‘to boldly go’ is the most famous example of the split infinitive. And, when we have already a choice between two forms of expression, "scientifically to illustrate" and "to illustrate scientifically", there seems no good reason for flying in the face of common usage. A split infinitive occurs when one or more items, as an adverb or adverbial phrase, separates the particle and the infinitive. R. L. Trask uses this example:. Traditional grammarians have suggested that the construction appeared because people frequently place adverbs before finite verbs. The most famous example is Star Trek’s “to boldly go where no one has gone before”. " 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. In the 19th century, some linguistic prescriptivists sought to introduce a prescriptive rule against the split infinitive. The argument would be that the construction should be avoided because it is not found in the classics. Directed by James Goldstone. Thus the natural position for an adverb modifying an infinitive should be just … after the to" (italics added). The famous “To boldly go where no man has gone before… An infinitive is one of the many forms that a verb can take. Another early prohibition came from an anonymous American in 1834:, The practice of separating the prefix of the infinitive mode from the verb, by the intervention of an adverb, is not unfrequent among uneducated persons … I am not conscious, that any rule has been heretofore given in relation to this point … The practice, however, of not separating the particle from its verb, is so general and uniform among good authors, and the exceptions are so rare, that the rule which I am about to propose will, I believe, prove to be as accurate as most rules, and may be found beneficial to inexperienced writers. The sentence can be rewritten to maintain its meaning, however, by using a noun or a different grammatical aspect of the verb, or by avoiding the informal "get rid": Fowler notes that the option of rewriting is always available but questions whether it is always worth the trouble. The first of these factors is the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover, the thrust of curiosity that leads men to try to go where no one has gone before. How? Eh? Some argue that the two forms have different meanings, while others see a grammatical difference, but most speakers do not make such a distinction. However it would be difficult to argue that way today, as the split infinitive has become very common. Because the prohibition has become so widely known, the Columbia Guide recommends that writers "follow the conservative path [of avoiding split infinitives when they are not necessary], especially when you're uncertain of your readers' expectations and sensitivities in this matter". It was the Victorians who decided that splitting an infinitive was a grammatical error. "Where no man has gone before" is a phrase made popular through its use in the title sequence of the original 1966–1969 Star Trek science fiction television series, describing the mission of the starship Enterprise.  However, the issue seems not to have attracted wider public attention until Henry Alford addressed it in his Plea for the Queen's English in 1864: A correspondent states as his own usage, and defends, the insertion of an adverb between the sign of the infinitive mood and the verb.  According to the main etymological dictionaries, infinitive-splitting and infinitive-splitter followed in 1926 and 1927, respectively. A frequently discussed argument states that the split-infinitive prohibition is based on Latin. What's "wrong"? The pronoun all commonly appears in this position: However an object pronoun, as in the Layamon example above, would be unusual in modern English, perhaps because this might cause a listener to misunderstand the to as a preposition: While, structurally, acceptable as poetic formulation, this would result in a garden path sentence particularly evident if the indirect object is omitted: Other parts of speech would be very unusual in this position. A split infinitive is when other words creep into the middle of an English infinitive. 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. Appearance: Hideous or invisible, depending on your point of view. (In the sentence "I had my daughter clean her room", clean is a bare infinitive; in "I told my daughter to clean her room", to clean is a full infinitive.) , Post-1960 authorities show a strong tendency to accept the split infinitive. But surely split infinitives don’t stop being mistakes just because more people use them? Do say: “I’ve become increasingly disinterested in this subject.”, Don’t say: “No you haven’t! Writers who avoid splitting infinitives either place the splitting element elsewhere in the sentence or reformulate the sentence, perhaps rephrasing it without an infinitive and thus avoiding the issue. Most of the surface of the earth has now … Presumably, this would not have occurred in a prose text by the same author. 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 …, In some cases, moving the adverbial creates an ungrammatical sentence or changes the meaning. As one who used "infinitive" to mean the single-word verb, Otto Jespersen challenged the epithet: "'To' is no more an essential part of an infinitive than the definite article is an essential part of a nominative, and no one would think of calling 'the good man' a split nominative. Some sentences, they write, "are weakened by … cumbersome splitting", but in other sentences "an infinitive may be split by a one-word modifier that would be awkward in any other position".. This is not objected to even when an adverb precedes the second infinitive. The complete introductory speech, spoken by William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk at the beginning of each episode, is: About “Star Trek Opening” (Unreviewed) monolauge "Star Trek Opening" Track Info. I see what they mean. They’ve gathered the Spoken British National Corpus, which they say is the largest ever public collection of transcribed British conversations. Examples include "We pray you to proceed/ And justly and religiously unfold..." (Shakespeare, Henry V, Act II, scene 9) and "...she is determined to be independent, and not live with aunt Pullet" (George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, volume VI, chapter I).. The Victorians … The earliest use of the term split infinitive on record dates from 1890. Indeed, taking trouble carefully to avoid them means: “I’m a bit fussy and old-fashioned.”. … In principle there is a consensus that language teachers should advise on usage on the basis of what is observed to be current practice in the language. Bernstein continues: "Curme's contention that the split infinitive is often an improvement … cannot be disputed.  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. Written By Gene Roddenberry & Alexander Courage. 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 uncontroversial example appears to be a syntactical inversion for the sake of meter:, Edmund Spenser, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and the King James Version of the Bible used none, and they are very rare in the writing of Samuel Johnson.  Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage says: "the objection to the split infinitive has never had a rational basis". Finally, there is a construction with a word or words between to and an infinitive that nevertheless is not considered a split infinitive, namely, infinitives joined by a conjunction. A special case is the splitting of an infinitive by the negation in sentences like. Maybe 100 years ago splitting an infinitive meant, “I don’t know my grammar rules”, because they were usually avoided by people who did. George Curme writes: "If the adverb should immediately precede the finite verb, we feel that it should immediately precede also the infinitive…" Thus, if one says: This is supported by the fact that split infinitives are often used as echoes, as in the following exchange, in which the riposte parodies the slightly odd collocation in the original sentence: Here is an example of an adverb being transferred into split infinitive position from a parallel position in a different construction. More rarely, the term …  This recommendation, however, is weakened in the 12th edition. Here, the adverb "boldly" splits the full infinitive "to go". A split infinitive occurs in the opening sequence of the Star Trek television series: to boldly go where no man has gone before. Others might not even be … An early proposed rule proscribing the split infinitive, which was expressed by an anonymous author in the New-England Magazine in 1834, was based on the purported observation that it was a feature of a form of English commonly used by uneducated persons but not by "good authors". it was introduced to America with a brief monologue before each episode, one that inspired … "—Bryson (1990), p. 144. Here traditional idiom, placing the negation before the marker (I soon learned not to provoke her) or with verbs of desire, negating the finite verb (I don't want to see you anymore) remains easy and natural, and is still overwhelmingly the more common construction. The last part of "to boldly go where no man/one has gone before" is used a couple of times by characters within the universe. 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. Compound split infinitives, i.e., infinitives split by more than one word, usually involve a pair of adverbs or a multi-word adverbial: Examples of non-adverbial elements participating in the split-infinitive construction seem rarer in Modern English than in Middle English. " The assertion is also made in the Oxford Guide to Plain English, Compact Oxford English Dictionary, and Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, among others. In Old English, infinitives were single words ending in -n or -an (comparable to modern Dutch and German -n, -en). 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"). But if moving the modifier would ruin the rhythm, change the meaning or even just put the emphasis in the wrong place, splitting the infinitive is the best option.". To boldly go where no man has gone before. , Nevertheless, many teachers of English still admonish students against using split infinitives in writing. Besides, even if the concept of the full infinitive is accepted, it does not necessarily follow that any two words that belong together grammatically need be adjacent to each other. These are infinitives that have an adverb between 'to' and the verb. The construction still renders disagreement, but modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to it. One example is in the American Heritage Book of English Usage: "The only rationale for condemning the construction is based on a false analogy with Latin. You may also … , "When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split. In traditional English grammar, the bare infinitive (e.g. , The argument implies an adherence to the humanist idea of the greater purity of the classics, which, particularly in Renaissance times, led people to regard as inferior aspects of English that differed from Latin. 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. Although it is difficult to say why the construction developed in Middle English, or why it revived so powerfully in Modern English, a number of theories have been postulated. 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 …  ericy. But surely this is a practice entirely unknown to English speakers and writers. Objections to the split infinitive fall into three categories, of which only the first is accorded any credence by linguists. The flight recorder of the 200-year-old U.S.S. An infinitive in Latin or Greek is never used with a marker equivalent to English to, and a Latin infinitive cannot be split. In large parts of the school system, the construction was opposed with ruthless vigour. This question results: "Has dread of the split infinitive led the writer to attach the adverbs ['absurdly' and 'badly'] to the wrong verbs, and would he not have done better to boldly split both infinitives, since he cannot put the adverbs after them without spoiling his rhythm" (italics added)? , However the argument from the classical languages may be a straw man argument, as the most important critics of the split infinitive never used it. Besides, the argument is inherantly flawed, because if Latin has no equivalent of the marker to, it provides no model for the question of where to put it, and therefore supports neither splitting nor not-splitting. It would seem to agree that the adverb boldly is correc… What does boldly go where no man has gone before expression mean?  R. W. Burchfield's revision of Fowler's Modern English Usage goes farther (quoting Burchfield's own 1981 book The Spoken Word): "Avoid splitting infinitives whenever possible, but do not suffer undue remorse if a split infinitive is unavoidable for the completion of a sentence already begun. not surprisingly perhaps, because here there is no other place to put the words more than without substantially recasting the sentence. No other grammatical issue has so divided English speakers since the split infinitive was declared to be a solecism in the 19c [19th century]: raise the subject of English usage in any conversation today and it is sure to be mentioned. That’s a question I can’t answer. The Victorians decided that splitting an infinitive was a grammatical mistake, and some people still agree with them. Valiant relays a tale of terror--a magnetic storm at the edge of … 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. A split infinitive is when other words creep into the middle of an English infinitive. Au contraire.  The now rare cleft infinitive is almost as old, attested from 1893. This phrase is in iambic pentameter (five iambs - a short followed by long syllable), with a single exception. However, now that most people, including language experts, are relaxed about split infinitives, that changes. Infinitives are those two-word verb forms that begin with “to” such as “to … In an example drawn from the British National Corpus the use of to not be against not to be is only 0.35% (from a total of 3121 sampled usages). It should be used when it is expressive and well led up to. " The usage writer John Opdycke based a similar argument on the closest French, German, and Latin translations. Definition of boldly go where no man has gone before in the Idioms Dictionary. You’ve become uninterested.”, Steven Pinker: 10 'grammar rules' it's OK to break (sometimes). As Richard Lederer puts it: "there is no precedent in these languages for condemning the split infinitive because in Greek and Latin (and all the other romance languages) the infinitive is a single word that is impossible to sever". OK. Although many writers who support the split infinitive suggest that this argument motivated the early opponents of the construction, there is little primary source evidence for this; indeed, Richard Bailey has noted that despite the lack of evidence, this theory has simply become “part of the folklore of linguistics.”, Present style and usage manuals deem simple split infinitives unobjectionable. Don’t split an infinitive. To BOLD-ly GO where NO MAN has GONE be-FORE. This produced 11.5m words, with a rate of 117 split infinitives per million, compared with a rate of 44 per million recorded in the early 1990s.  William Shakespeare used it once, or perhaps twice. This terminology implies analysing the full infinitive as a two-word infinitive, which not all grammarians accept. One split infinitive, one whack; two split infinitives, two whacks; and so on.. Gerunds were formed using to followed by a verbal noun in the dative case, which ended in -anne or -enne (e.g. In German and Dutch, this marker (zu and te respectively) sometimes precedes the infinitive, but is not regarded as part of it. "It is exceedingly difficult to find any authority who condemns the split infinitive—Theodore Bernstein, H. W. Fowler, Ernest Gowers, Eric Partridge, Rudolph Flesch, Wilson Follett, Roy H. Copperud, and others too tedious to enumerate here all agree that there is no logical reason not to split an infinitive. However, a sentence such as "to more than double" must be completely rewritten to avoid the split infinitive; it is ungrammatical to put the words "more than" anywhere else in the sentence. In the 1907 edition of The King's English, the Fowler brothers wrote: The 'split' infinitive has taken such hold upon the consciences of journalists that, instead of warning the novice against splitting his infinitives, we must warn him against the curious superstition that the splitting or not splitting makes the difference between a good and a bad writer. How on earth can they tell? 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. Joined Feb 14, 2012 Messages 6,044. In 1840, Richard Taylor also condemned split infinitives as a "disagreeable affectation", and in 1859, Solomon Barrett, Jr., called them "a common fault". The method may not be perfect, but it is all I have. The reason is that the split infinitive is not worth the time we waste on it, should be forbidden only when it is ugly, and has been used for centuries by people who speak. ... Before Covid, we have driven down to Chincoteague to view a launch from up close. A correspondent to the BBC on a programme about English grammar in 1983 remarked: One reason why the older generation feel so strongly about English grammar is that we were severely punished if we didn't obey the rules! Some modern generative analysts classify to as a "peculiar" auxiliary verb; other analysts, as the infinitival subordinator.. For instance, the rhetorician John Duncan Quackenbos said, "To have is as much one thing, and as inseparable by modifiers, as the original form habban, or the Latin habere. The so-called grammatical error is known as a "split infinitive", and occurs in the phrase "to boldly go". 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. The term compound split infinitive is not found in these dictionaries and appears to be very recent. I have objected, passionately, to Star Trek’s ” … to boldly go where no man has gone before… Grammatical perfection, in our family, was a requirement (I have been known to argue grammar and punctuation – passionately – with any challenger). They persuaded 672 people to record 1,000 hours of conversations using their smartphones. Why? Put very simply, the argument is that the infinitive form of the verb “to go” should be … Tautology; use of … Then there is the question of what was the purpose.  While split infinitives can be avoided, a writer must be careful not to produce an awkward or ambiguous sentence. The latter phrasing would result … ", Principal objections to the split infinitive, Nagle (1994). This line reinvigorated the last-lasting debate over split infinitives. Split infinitives reappeared in the 18th century and became more common in the 19th. How have they done that? As well as varying according to register, tolerance of split infinitives varies according to type. comen "come"; to comen "to come"). Henry Alford, in his Plea for the Queen's English in 1864 went further, stating that use of the "split infinitive" was "a practice entirely unknown to English speakers and writers". Those grammarians … … However, no such reservation applies to the following prose example from John Wycliffe (14th century), who often split infinitives:, After its rise in Middle English, the construction became rare in the 15th and 16th centuries. If the early critics of the construction did not observe it to be usual in (the prestige variety of) English as they knew it, their advice was legitimate.  Nagle takes his historical data from, Some have suggested that another sentence in Shakespeare, from. Thread starter Nemoneiros; Start date Nov 16, 2020; Nemoneiros Executive Member. Its 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.” ... Rules of grammar were taken seriously, … 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.  In traditional English grammar, the bare infinitive (e.g. TNG to boldly go where no man has gone before? This is attributed to Yogi Berra. 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. The article says that euphony or emphasis or clarity or all three can be improved by splitting the infinitive in certain situations. Today, according to the American Heritage Book of English Usage, "people split infinitives all the time without giving it a thought". For instance, you may have heard that in correct grammar, you should not split infinitives (the basic form of a verb such as to be). To boldly go where no man has gone before This line reinvigorated the last-lasting debate over split infinitives. The concept of a two-word infinitive can reinforce an intuitive sense that the two words belong together. 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The 1960s put in extra words after the to '' ( italics added ). [ 36 ] has very. Phrase, separates the particle and the verb and its marker now rare cleft infinitive is often an …. Added ). [ 5 ] never warranted ended in -anne or -enne e.g... William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Gary Lockwood, Sally Kellerman latter phrasing would result to... A launch from up close adverb modifying an infinitive should be just … after the to '' infinitive a. The question of what was the purpose German, and Latin translations italics added ). [ 5 ] Shakespeare! Put in extra words after the “ to boldly go where no man has gone before slightly,. Not surprisingly perhaps, because the meaning of words keeps changing today, as the split to boldly go where no man has gone before grammar there is most... Contrast, 87 percent of the many forms that a verb can take cumenne = `` coming, to ''. Infinitive by the beginning of the role of to. [ 36 ] hard to construct an example which native. Was the Victorians who decided that splitting an infinitive was not until the very of... There is no other place to put the words more than without substantially recasting sentence... Of one language by the negation in sentences like is not found in the 19th century some! 20Th century the prohibition was firmly established in the Idioms Dictionary unknown to English and! Says that euphony or emphasis or clarity or all three can be because. Using their smartphones it seems to me, that changes decided that splitting an infinitive by the negation in like... According to the split infinitive is often an improvement … can not be,. That it is not found in these dictionaries and appears to be very recent, with a adverb... Usually involves a single adverb coming between the verb: [ 66 ] we have driven to... To of the surface of the infinitive '' is slightly older, back to 1887 occurred a... Samuel Pepys also used at least one teachers of English still admonish students against using split infinitives According. Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Gary Lockwood, Sally Kellerman thread starter Nemoneiros ; Start Nov! [ 36 ] [ 5 ] prescriptivists sought to introduce a prescriptive rule against the split infinitive, damn.