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... and be prepared patiently to debate... - I am the fountain of affection
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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 23rd, 2006 10:17 pm
... and be prepared patiently to debate...

I hate the "no split infinitives" rule. It's no part of my internalized grammar, but every so often I encounter someone, usually a British someone, who abides by it, and it confuses me. I think they're tweaking the word order to topicalize or emphasize some part of the sentence, and I'm halfway to analyzing what that might be before I realize, oh, they're just doing things differently to avoid splitting infinitives.

I was very very sad when I realized that what I thought were some quirky turns of phrase by Douglas Adams were nothing more than him hewing to the "no split infinitives" rule. A little bit of imagined cleverness, gone.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Current Music: The Reith Lectures - The Triumph of Technology

15CommentReplyShare

quietann
quietann
quietann
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 02:53 am (UTC)

could you give me an example of a split infinitive?


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)

... to boldly go where no-one has gone before!

The un-split way is "... boldly to go where..."


ReplyThread Parent
quietann
quietann
quietann
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC)

ewwwww. I so do not understand the "no split infinitives" rule, then!


ReplyThread Parent
bikergeek
bikergeek
Socially Awkward Penguin
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 05:02 am (UTC)

It's one of those stupid rules that happened when a bunch of "scholars" decided to impose Latin grammar rules on English. All verbs are single words in Latin, including the infinitive form, unlike the two-word construction "to $FOO" that's used in English. Hence the "no split infinitives" rule. You *can't* split an infinitive in Latin, so these "scholars" reasoned that one should be unable to do so in English as well.


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lil_brown_bat
lil_brown_bat
Little Brown Bat
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)

Thanks for explaining that. I always wondered about the rationale for that rule.


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bikergeek
bikergeek
Socially Awkward Penguin
Thu, May. 25th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)

*bow* you're welcome. :-)


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coraline
coraline
unintentionally intimidating
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)

well, i might say "to go boldly where no one..." which is much less awkward.


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emmacrew
emmacrew
Emma
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC)

This is what I get for commenting before reading the other comments... :-)


ReplyThread Parent
emmacrew
emmacrew
Emma
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)

"To go boldly..." seems a bit less clunky.


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wdomburg
wdomburg
Mr. Walloff Domburg
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)

There are still people who take that "rule" seriously? Sheesh.


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whitebird
whitebird
Occam's Pump-Action Shotgun
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC)

It could have been Douglas Adams' editor who did the un-splitting.


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jcgbigler
jcgbigler
Jeff Bigler
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 05:42 am (UTC)

You have to always split your infinitives. If they're longer than 16", you won't be able to easily fit them into your sentences. Last fall, I had to painstakingly split an entire cord of infinitives. It was hard work, and it was so cold outside that I had to frequently take coffee breaks.

The next day, I had to dutifully make an appointment with my chiropractor, in order to at all be able to effortlessly walk the next day. To even think of splitting all those infinitives makes me tired enough to just fall asleep!


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lil_brown_bat
lil_brown_bat
Little Brown Bat
Wed, May. 24th, 2006 10:33 am (UTC)

Last fall, I had to painstakingly split an entire cord of infinitives. It was hard work, and it was so cold outside that I had to frequently take coffee breaks.

Dude, that's a feature, not a bug. As us rural types like to say, "Infinitives warm you twice."


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brooding_soul
brooding_soul
All emo from my impeachment
Thu, May. 25th, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)

Best. Icon. Ever.


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