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.