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Split Infinitive
Splitsville

By Evan Jenkins

Splitting an infinitive is not a mortal sin, but it's nice to avoid because it makes some grammarians and other thoughtful readers — the legions those grammarians taught — grind their teeth. When it's easy to fix, we should fix it. It was easy here: "Mr. Lindsey has said he never asked the bank to not file the disclosure form." Correctness aside, isn't "not to file" much more natural? But there are times when we should let the infinitive fanatics grin and bear it. The writer said a business executive "pushed a button to officially activate the assembly lines at the $212 million plant recently." There are alternatives, but "officially" sounds fine where it is, right in the middle of that infinitive.

CJR

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Sept / Oct 08

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