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Serenity
09-09-2006, 06:50 PM
Split infinitives. Mainly, I've learned from my grammar check function that I seem to have a problem with them. Grammar has never been one of my best subjects as far as learning goes. Can someone give me the third-grade lesson on how to avoid splitting them? I can never remember how to word it properly. I must work on keeping my infinitives happily married!

I tried "Learn Writing With Uncle Jim", because that is where I will most likely be pointed, I'm sure. But after searching the index for about five minutes, I started to whimper. So, I figured I'd just ...

ok, editing myself before I even finished the thought!

I had a 'duh' moment and used the search feature on the forums. But anyhow, I'd still like to hear from all of you.

Sesselja
09-09-2006, 07:52 PM
Can someone give me the third-grade lesson on how to avoid splitting them? I can never remember how to word it properly.


You just avoid putting anything between to and the verb.

To use your own sentence:I can never remember how to word it properly: Is OK.
I can never remember how to properly word it: Is split.

Serenity
09-09-2006, 08:00 PM
You just avoid putting anything between to and the verb.

To use your own sentence:I can never remember how to word it properly: Is OK.
I can never remember how to properly word it: Is split.

Heh... at least I can get it right in general conversation. I suppose that's a start. :hooray:

Medievalist
09-09-2006, 08:05 PM
Split infinitives are a made-up grammar issue.

Back in the day, people, we'll call 'em idjits, thought English grammar should function like Latin grammar. This, of course, is stupid. But in Latin grammar the infinitive form of the verb is a single word.

In English, the only way (and this has always been true) to make an infinitive form of the verb is to add the word to + the base form of the verb.

To go To Run To love to eat, whatever. It's the same.

Now then, these idjits thought that, since you can't insert an adverb in the middle of a Latin infinitive, you shouldn't be able to in English.

But you can. To slowly walk, to quickly think etc.

Sometimes, it sounds funny to split the infinitive; to walk slowly might sound better. But maybe you want to emphasize that the walk was slow, so you might, in that instace, use to slowly walk.

Sometimes, as in "To boldly go where no one has gone before" it just sounds better to split the infinitive.

So do.

If your editor has a problem, why then, either change it or write Stet.

See also:

http://www.bartleby.com/116/503.html

(Scroll down to #25)

http://www.bartleby.com/61/55/S0655500.html

Flapdoodle
09-09-2006, 08:15 PM
Split infinitives. Mainly, I've learned from my grammar check function that I seem to have a problem with them. Grammar has never been one of my best subjects as far as learning goes. Can someone give me the third-grade lesson on how to avoid splitting them? I can never remember how to word it properly. I must work on keeping my infinitives happily married!

I tried "Learn Writing With Uncle Jim", because that is where I will most likely be pointed, I'm sure. But after searching the index for about five minutes, I started to whimper. So, I figured I'd just ...

ok, editing myself before I even finished the thought!

I had a 'duh' moment and used the search feature on the forums. But anyhow, I'd still like to hear from all of you.

I wouldn't worry about split infinitives. There's no reason not to use them, and they've been used in English since... well, since the language was cobbled together. I seem to remember the rule being created for arbitrary reasons.

Serenity
09-09-2006, 09:27 PM
Huh. You know, this is kind of like being on meds for the past twenty years of my life for a disease that I've just been told I never really had. Thanks!

Now, if I could only be told the same thing about my (over)use of adverbs. ;)

blacbird
09-09-2006, 10:02 PM
Now, if I could only be told the same thing about my (over)use of adverbs. ;)

I think most people have this problem, at least in early work, and in first drafts. Here your word-processor is your friend. At some point (I'd recommend fairly early in the editing process), do a sequential search for every occurrence of "ly ", "ly.", and "ly,". Most will be in adverbs. Look at each one of these in the context of its sentence and determine, with some brutishness, if it's necessary. You'll be surprised how many of them are not.

And remember also, that not all adverbs end in -ly, although a great number of them do.

caw.

Jamesaritchie
09-10-2006, 01:28 AM
I wouldn't say it's always good to split an infinitive, but there is no real rule against doing so, and most of the time you should split away. As Medievalist says, this is a case of trying to make English function like Latin. The thing is, in Latin it's impossible to split an infinitive, so trying to impose this rule on English makes no sense at all.

And remember Star Trek. "To boldly go where no man has gone before."

Can you unsplit this splitter to make it a better sentence?

Look at the individual sentence. Better, listen to the way each sentence sounds. If it sounds better split, then split away.

And while we're at it, don't tie a sentence in knots in order to avoid ending it with a preposition, either. As Churchill supposedly said, "This is the sort of errant pedantry up with which I will not put."

Go into Word's grammar check and turn off some of the sillier rules. It makes life much easier.

Kentuk
09-26-2006, 10:17 AM
I would like to slowly slpit the software engineers responsible for Word grammar check. The program doesn't make distinctions between suggestions and what is obviously wrong.

Medievalist
09-26-2006, 10:28 AM
I would like to slowly slpit the software engineers responsible for Word grammar check. The program doesn't make distinctions between suggestions and what is obviously wrong.

Don't blame the engineers; blame the linguists at Microlytics.

And do mess with the preference settings for style and grammar.

Word Perfect's is better, by the way.

Spirit_Fire
09-26-2006, 10:52 AM
I would like to slowly slpit the software engineers responsible for Word grammar check. The program doesn't make distinctions between suggestions and what is obviously wrong.

Yeah. And what's with The War on Passive Voice?

Flapdoodle
09-26-2006, 11:14 AM
I would like to slowly slpit the software engineers responsible for Word grammar check. The program doesn't make distinctions between suggestions and what is obviously wrong.

Please distinguish between poorly written software (stuff that crashes, is slow) and poorly SPECIFIED software (i.e. the people responsible for requirements stuffed up.)

Spirit_Fire
09-26-2006, 04:30 PM
And do mess with the preference settings for style and grammar.


Ah, I missed this part. Thanks for the tip. I just figured out how to turn it off. I hate when the computer thinks it knows better than me. :D

Jamesaritchie
09-27-2006, 10:35 AM
Yeah. And what's with The War on Passive Voice?

Now that's a good war. Passive voice can't always be avoided, but it should be saved for tose moments when passive is, uh, actively needed, which isn't very often at all.

Passive voice kills writing.

Medievalist
09-27-2006, 10:40 AM
Passive voice kills writing.

And occasionally, it offs an innocent reader as well.

Kentuk
09-29-2006, 09:36 AM
Please distinguish between poorly written software (stuff that crashes, is slow) and poorly SPECIFIED software (i.e. the people responsible for requirements stuffed up.)

Oh are you one of them? Can I rant at you for about four hours.

I consign them to the same niche in hell.

I said software engineers because because this forum is infested with those who are less then adults.

Actually I have to say the engineering in Word is stout.