Split Infinitive Rules

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‘To boldly go where no man has gone before.’ Do you know this quote? It’s from the cult TV show, Star Trek. Did you know that this sentence is considered incorrect by quite a few people? Let’s take a closer look at this structure!
What’s a Split Infinitive?
First, you might want to see what split means:
SPLIT- SPLIT- SPLIT
divide into two or more parts

  • The teacher split the class into four groups of five.

 
Then, it’s time to check what an Infinitive is:
TO + VERB

  • It’s nice to meet you, Mr Spock.
  • Yes, I’d love to see the Enterprise.
  • I’ve come here to learn.

 
So, if you want to ‘split an infinitive’, all you have to do is insert another word (an adverb) between TO and the VERB. Just like in the famous quote: to boldly go.
 

  • I would love to really understand your civilisation.
  • After being shot, the Borg began to slowly move towards the gate.
  • The Borg invasion was a fantastic opportunity to once again see our favourite heroes in action.
  • They decided to gradually wipe out mankind.

 
 Although the above sentences sound correct to most English speakers, some language teachers consider them incorrect. This is what they would say:

  • I would really love to understand your civilisation.
  • After being shot, the Borg began to move slowly towards the gate.
  • The Borg invasion was a fantastic opportunity to see our favourite heroes in action once again.
  • They decided to wipe out mankind gradually.

 
So, can I split infinitives?
 
Of course, you can. Split infinitives are quite common in English and have been in use for centuries. Just keep in mind that some people object to them (for which there’s no real justification) so it may be a good idea not to use them in formal writing.

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