split infinitive love

split infinitive


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An infinitive verb form with an element, usually an adverb, interposed between to and the verb form, as in to boldly go.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • (Gram.) A simple infinitive with to, having a modifier between the verb and the to; as in, to largely decrease. Called also cleft infinitive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An infinitive with one or more modifiers inserted between the to and the verb.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an infinitive with an adverb between `to' and the verb (e.g., `to boldly go')


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • There's a poster in my workplace that says "The important thing is not to stop questioning". I agree with the sentiment, but the grammar drives me crazy. My brain parses it as "X is not Y", or "(The important thing) is not (to stop questioning)", and so every time I see it, I think "Well, then what is the important thing? Tell me! Don't leave me in suspense, you wretched poster!"

    This is why it's important to give people the freedom to split infinitives. Using a split infinitive, you can reword the sentence as "The important thing is to not stop questioning", which is nice and tidy and clear.

    January 10, 2013

  • I would understand that poster the same way. I don't think it's clear in what it's really getting at.

    The important thing, I've discovered, is fresh apricots from the farmers' market.

    January 10, 2013

  • Can one 'meekly stop'? Apricots are precociously bold! Freeze, rot or not! Is not that soitenly (amen is certainly an adverb!) clear?! Give me a break ((not) brake)! Let's Non-dualistically split??? Iroquoisyly???

    Silly, is-it-not?

    January 10, 2013

  • I could see that poster hanging in an interrogation room somewhere.

    January 10, 2013

  • Clearly, the important thing is to stop answering!

    January 10, 2013