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Split infinitives are not a grammatical error

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Charlie Dees
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Split infinitives are not a grammatical error

Post by Charlie Dees » Fri May 04, 2012 8:19 pm

Moderator note: originally posted in the private MSHSAA Districts/Sectional/State forum. I think this is referring to a question from 2012 MSHSAA State. --jmh

The question about split infinitives is wrong.
Oxford dictionaries says:
there’s no real justification for their objection, which is based on comparisons with the structure of Latin. People have been splitting infinitives for centuries, especially in spoken English, and avoiding a split infinitive can sound clumsy. It can also change the emphasis of what’s being said.
Merriam Webster says:
The split infinitive was discovered and named in the 19th century. 19th century writers seem to have made greater use of this construction than earlier writers; the frequency of occurrence attracted the disapproving attention of grammarians, many of whom thought it to be a modern corruption. The construction had in fact been in occasional use since the 14th century; only its frequency had changed. Even though there has never been a rational basis for objecting to the split infinitive, the subject has become a fixture of folk belief about grammar. You can hardly publish a sentence containing one without hearing about it from somebody. Modern commentators know the split infinitive is not a vice, but they are loath to drop such a popular subject. They usually say it's all right to split an infinitive in the interest of clarity. Since clarity is the usual reason for splitting, this advice means merely that you can split them whenever you need to.
and in my opinion most importantly, the Chicago Manual of Style says:
CMOS has not, since the thirteenth edition (1983), frowned on the split infinitive. The sixteenth edition suggests, to take one example, allowing split infinitives when an intervening adverb is used for emphasis (see paragraphs 5.106 and 5.168). In this day and age, it seems, an injunction against splitting infinitives is one of those shibboleths whose only reason for survival is to give increased meaning to the lives of those who can both identify by name a discrete grammatical, syntactic, or orthographic entity and notice when that entity has been somehow besmirched. ... ves01.html ... infinitive

The only reason to have a question about this being an error is if you write it from old knowledge of how you were incorrectly taught grammar, and not based in actual grammatical rules (which have always have allowed split infinitives).

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Re: Split infinitives are not a grammatical error

Post by CentraliaCoach » Sat May 05, 2012 2:53 pm

Did they use the "To boldly go" clue to boot?

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Re: Split infinitives are not a grammatical error

Post by PaulGrant » Sun May 06, 2012 12:13 pm

"to totally ace"

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Re: Split infinitives are not a grammatical error

Post by Mewto55555 » Sun May 06, 2012 1:07 pm

Speaking of grammar, what in the world was that tossup on "adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions"?!?!?!?

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Re: Split infinitives are not a grammatical error

Post by bt_green_warbler » Sun May 06, 2012 4:15 pm

2012 MSHSAA states round 1 wrote:In Reed-Kellogg sentence diagramming, which three of the traditional eight parts of speech can appear on slanted lines beneath the words they modify?

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