To Split Or Not To Split

Infinitives are these oddities in the English language. The full Infinities are basically one word made up of two words, the word TO plus a VERB. Examples of this are to go, or to be.

 They are diverse little devils, used to indicate purpose or intention,( To get certified, I must pass the test) A form of a verb, but not a verb, they can also be used as a noun to represent an action or a thing in a sentence.(To know her is to love her) They can be adjectives and adverbs too. 

I know, we've all heard that old grammar edict: "Don't split the infinitive " That previous forbidden tactic of inserting an adverb in the middle, between the "to" and the verb. (This came from the old 19thCentury English grammarians who tended to honor Latin grammar rules, which clearly stated that you cannot split a one-word infinitive as exists in Latin.)

In fact, I had this teacher that knew, for a fact, this rule was one of the ten commandments, that somehow got lost in translation. This rule is among one of those group of Imaginary grammar rules, like Passive voice is always wrong. Wrong!

So what should a modern writer do, when that sentence just doesn't pack a punch without that added interruption. ( To boldly go where no man has gone before)
The English-speaking population is divided when it comes to splitting infinitive: We have those who don't know and don't care, those who don't know and do care, those who know and approve, those who know and condemn, and those who know and discriminate. The late Grammarian H.W. Fowler

I think most writers,  make the decision to spilt or not to spilt, based solely on our audience and how we want them to perceive our characters. In this case, infinitives will occasionally require splitting, sometimes for meaning and sometimes for sentence cadence.  Knowing that its presence will not hurt the effectiveness of your writing.

If the piece you're writing is  formal and you can maneuver the words to avoid splitting the infinitive, then do so. Especially, when writing to an editor, magazine or sending out your cover letter.
 However you decide, it's the writer's choice. Just as long as you can handle  getting those nasty emails from cranky people who believe it's their job to enforce imaginary grammar rules.

So, to split or not to split?
For me, if  its presence will not hurt the validity of my writing, I'm leaving it alone.  

Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin