It’s My Infinitive & I’ll Split if I Want to

Splitting the Infinitive.  Noted in Nashville.It’s My Infinitive & I’ll Split if I Want to

Definitely to be;
Or not to definitely be;
That is the unquestionable.

The other day I was watching a movie which mentioned splitting the infinitive as a very, very naughty thing for a writer to intentionally or unintentionally do.  I thought back – and tried to honestly remember learning about split infinitives in school.  I couldn’t.  (No kidding!)

I took it upon myself to casually peruse the internet for a refresher course.  Here’s what I learned:

Write whatever and however you want!

Oh yeah, and here’s what a split infinitive is:

Placing an adverb between “to” and a verb.  (The favorite example is “to boldly go . . . .”)

Then after more research, I learned:

The rule against split infinitives is bogus.  See rule A.  Write whatever and however you want!

Splitting the Infinitive.  Noted in Nashville.I am one of those odd people who like to strictly follow grammar rules.  I’m not saying I do it well; I’m just saying I like to precisely follow the rules.  So, when I learned that I went around willy-nilly breaking this one for years, I was so embarrassed.

I want to sincerely write wellI want to write well sincerely.  I want sincerely to write well.

But then I got over it (the embarrassment part, not the wanting to write well part) because most grammarians agree that the split infinitive is a perfectly acceptable use of an adverb.  I am free to merrily split away.  Phew!  (Good thing since there are no less than eight split infinitives in this post alone.)

Then again, there’s a large group of distinguished writers who don’t like adverbs at all . . . .  But we’ll save that topic for another day.  Until then, I’m gonna make like an infinitive.

Splitting the Infinitive.  Noted in Nashville.

– Anita, Noted in Nashville

What do you think?  Do you use split infinitives in your writing?

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8 thoughts on “It’s My Infinitive & I’ll Split if I Want to

  1. Clever post. I like to follow the rules, too when it comes to writing, but the split infinitive is likely one I ignore. Given I write a casual blog and mainstream fiction, sometimes it sounds more “everyday-ish” to split than not to split. I don’t want to sound hoity toity. 🙂

    By the way, thanks again for the mention of my book on your FB page the other day. Much appreciated!!

  2. I like to follow grammar rules, but in writing, as in speaking, when the grammatically correct thing sounds awkward or unnatural or like something that would never be said in actual speech, I take the best-sounding route…and regarding that, my personal pet peeve is the grammatical fanaticism about ending a sentence with a preposition, to which, I’ll post this link with varying versions of my favorite(attributed to) Churchill quote: “That is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put!” Find your fave variation here: http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html
    As far as I know, however, WC said little or nothing about splitting infinitives…so, my advice is to damn well write any way you please! 😉 -little g

    • Hey Little g!

      I agree, and I love that quote by Churchill. Sometimes I feel like up with putting that nonsense . . . and sometimes I don’t. It’s something I’ve let myself relax about. (Obbbviously.)

      Anita, NiN

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