split infinitive

split infinitive
split infinitive NOUN a construction consisting of an infinitive with an adverb or other word inserted between to and the verb, e.g. she seems to really like it.
USAGE It is still widely held that splitting infinitives is wrong, a view based on an analogy with Latin. In that language, infinitives consist of only one word (e.g. amare ‘to love’), which makes them impossible to split. It is therefore maintained that they should not be split in English either. But English is not the same as Latin. In particular, the placing of an adverb in English is extremely important in giving the appropriate emphasis: you really have to watch him and to go boldly where no man has gone before , examples where the infinitive is not split, convey a different emphasis or sound awkward. Therefore, although still held by some to be incorrect, in standard English the use of split infinitives is broadly accepted as both normal and useful.

English terms dictionary. 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • split infinitive — 1. A split infinitive occurs when a word (usually an adverb) or phrase comes between the particle to and the verb of a so called to infinitive (to really love / to really and truly love). No other grammatical issue has so divided English speakers …   Modern English usage

  • split infinitive — split′ infin′itive n. use gram. an expression in which there is a word or phrase, usu. an adverb or adverbial phrase, between to and its accompanying verb form in an infinitive, as in to readily understand[/ex] • Etymology: 1895–1900 usage: The… …   From formal English to slang

  • Split infinitive — (Gram.) A simple infinitive with to, having a modifier between the verb and the to; as in, to largely decrease. Called also {cleft infinitive}. Note: The use of the split infinitive is commonly considered to be ungrammatical, but by most… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • split infinitive — split infinitives N COUNT A split infinitive is a structure in which an adverb is put between to and the infinitive of a verb, as in to really experience it . Some people think it is incorrect to use split infinitives …   English dictionary

  • split infinitive — n. Gram. an infinitive with an adverb or other modifier placed between to and the verb form (Ex.: he decided to gradually change his methods): although some object to this construction, many writers use split infinitives where ambiguity or wrong… …   English World dictionary

  • Split infinitive — A split infinitive is an English language grammatical construction in which a word or phrase, usually an adverb or adverbial phrase, comes between the marker to and the bare infinitive (uninflected) form of a verb. For example, a split infinitive …   Wikipedia

  • split infinitive — noun Date: 1897 an infinitive with to having a modifier between the to and the verbal (as in “to really start”) Usage: The split infinitive was discovered and named in the 19th century. 19th century writers seem to have made greater use of this… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • split infinitive — Gram. an expression in which there is a word or phrase, esp. an adverb or adverbial phrase, between to and its accompanying verb form in an infinitive, as in to readily understand. [1895 1900] Usage. The rule against placing a word, especially an …   Universalium

  • split infinitive — noun an infinitive with an adverb between to and the verb (e.g., to boldly go ) • Hypernyms: ↑infinitive * * * noun, pl ⋯ tives [count] grammar : an English phrase in which an adverb or other word is placed between to and a verb “To really start” …   Useful english dictionary

  • split infinitive — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms split infinitive : singular split infinitive plural split infinitives linguistics an infinitive in which there is an adverb between the word to and the verb, as in the phrase to completely understand . Some… …   English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”