Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: Grammar — Patterico @ 11:46 am

Xrlq’s excellent post on an error-laden Ass. Press story got me thinking about split infinitives. I noticed that the AP story in question split an infinitive, and I thought that it was about the only thing in the story that the AP got right. I think that splitting infinitives is sometimes necessary to avoid sounding stilted.

Since people have generally teamed up against me on the quotation mark controversy and the “an historical” controversy, I figured I’d offer bloggers yet another chance violently to disagree to violently disagree with me on a grammatical issue.

UPDATE: Xrlq notes that this is (as you might think) a debate that others have already had. The good Prof. Volokh has previously weighed in, in favor of split infinitives — to which Xrlq responded with this rather complicated discussion. Xrlq appears to (basically) agree with Prof. Volokh and me, but argues that it’s not really splitting an infinitive because the “to” is not part of the infinitive. [Previous grammatical awkwardness in the preceding sentence corrected, thanks to an observation by Xrlq in the comments. Gotta be careful with your grammar when you’re talking about grammar!] Xrlq denies that this is hairsplitting, but I’m not so sure. Read his post and reach your own judgment.

In any event, it’s nice not to have people swarming to disagree with me the way they did the last couple of times. (I’m still right.)

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