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Tip 35: Splitting Infinitives

Your high school English teacher probably taught you that splitting an infinitive is an earth-shattering offense. Let’s straighten this out right now. Sometimes it is okay!
“And what is an infinitive?” you (might) ask.
An infinitive is the bare form of a verb with the preposition ‘to’ in front of it (e.g., to eat, to dare, to talk, to intervene, to go). Infinitives are not restricted by person or number.
“What does ‘split’ mean?” the weary would-be grammarian ponders. A split infinitive occurs when an adverb is placed between the sign of the infinitive (to) and the verb itself.
Example: His goal was to boldly go where man had not gone before. Do you see that word ‘boldly’ sticking in between to and go? That means you have a split infinitive (i.e., you split the infinitive by placing an adverb in the middle)!
Sometimes, however, if ambiguity is at stake, you may have to split the infinitive so that you can communicate more clearly.
Example: I agreed immediately to make pancakes for the children. (I agreed right away to make the pancakes.) Example: I agreed to immediately make pancakes for the children. (I agreed to make the pancakes right away.)
Bottom line: Clarity is foremost. If you can avoid splitting an infinitive, by all means, do so. But if avoiding a split infinitive results in ambiguity, then you have a free pass to split away!