By ANNE DONNELL
Will you explain why an infinitive shouldnt be split? Or should it? Why the fuss?
-Split A Few in My Day
C. Edward Good covers this in A Grammar Book for You and I OOPS, Me! He notes the split/non split is one of the biggest controversies in grammar. He says that experts on English language point out two split infinitives in Chaucer.
[ATA (according to Anne) (1340?-1400) Poet, author of The Canterbury Tales. Thats a collection of stories, written in Middle English, some in verse, others in prose, told by men and women making a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral to the shrine of Thomas Becket. The tales arise from a story-telling contest as the group travels from Southwark. The prize for this contest is a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return. Becket? The man whose murder is recounted in T.S. Eliots Murder in the Cathedral, a drama in verse. (Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1888-1965. American-born English poet, dramatist, and critic.) The story of the friendship and, finally, deadly falling out of Becket (1117-1170) and Henry II (1154-1189) has enthralled many. Henry appointed his then bosom buddy Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury, believing Becket would support fully royal encroachments on church power. Wrong. Becket grew into the job, transforming into a strict, hairshirt-wearing opponent of the king. When Henry cried out something to the effect of Will no one rid me of this man? loyal knights rode to Canterbury and killed Becket where he stood in the cathedral, refusing to hide. A rose is laid daily to mark the spot. Henrys penance: he walked to Canterbury Cathedral in sack cloth and ashes and allowed himself to be flogged by the monks there. The Cathedral became a roaring success as a pilgrimage site. When it became a roaring fire in 1174, the trinkets sold to pilgrims paid for much of the rebuilding costs. As for what happened to Henry, father of several including Richard the Lion Heart and Bad King John, both acquainted with Robin Hood, if he existed, go rent The Lion in Winter.]
BACK TO INFINITIVES. First, this split business concerns only infinitives with to. Yes, there are infinitives without to. EXAMPLES OF INFINITIVES WITHOUT TO. Let go! Her mom made her clean her room.
Splitting an infinitive means you have put adverbial modifiers between the to and the verb form of the infinitive. EXAMPLE OF SPLIT INFINITIVE. Its important to fully cook the meat.
UNSPLITTING? Its important to cook the meat fully.
You could put the modifier before the infinitive.
So does it matter? C. Edward Good says that it looks as if the tendency is to use split infinitives reluctantly. Good writers definitely use them, but infrequently. Sometimes the split infinitive is the better way, less awkward, clearer.
NOW SOME DIVERSION (mostly for me). Grammarly.com posted this: I. LIKE. THE. WAY. THE . LITTLE. VOICE. IN. YOUR. HEAD. TAKES. PAUSES. WHEN. YOU. READ. THIS.
So, being haughty and naughty, judgmental, and confrontational on paper and sometimes in real life at least at home except with the dog (anyone would be with the cat) Id like to add this one: WHY! DO! SOME! OF! YOU! PEOPLE! OVERUSE! THE! EXCLAMATION! MARK!!!!!?????
And heres a real killer: SOME OF US WANT THE DEATH PENALTY FOR ENGLISH WRITING PEOPLE WHO CANT USE AN APOSTROPHE CORRECTLY ; (wait, those people would use a comma, not a semicolon), ITS SOOOOO DISTURBING.
You know I should have misspelled most of that and tucked in an incorrect laying for the correct lying somewhere.
ONLINE DEPARTMENT Received from a Golfer Friend (Thanks, A.W.) One day I accidentally overturned my golf cart. Elizabeth, a very attractive golfer who lived in a condo on the golf course heard the noise and called out, Are you okay, what's your name?" "Its Bob, and Im okay, thanks," I replied. "Bob, forget your troubles. Come to my condo, rest a while, and I'll help you get the cart up later." "That's mighty nice of you," I answered, but I don't think my wife would like it." "Oh, come on," Elizabeth insisted. She was very pretty and persuasive. I was weak. "Well okay," I finally agreed, and added again, "but my wife won't like it." After a restorative brandy, and some creative putting lessons, I thanked my hostess. "I feel a lot better now, but I know my wife is going to be really upset." "Don't be silly! Elizabeth said with a smile, She won't know anything. By the way, where is she?" "Under the cart!" I said.
NEED A MNEUMONIC? If you want to remember Henry VIIIs 6 wives (Kate & Anne & Jane & Anne & Kate again and again) the initials of their surnames (well, two of them are ofs) are featured in this: All Boys Should Come Home, Please. (of Aragon, Boleyn, Seymour, of Cleves, Howard, Parr). (from i before e (except after c) by Judy Parkinson ) Did the 2 Henrys wear you out today? Well that Parkinson book didnt have anything on Henry Cavill. NOTE TO INFORM REALLY OLD AND OUT OF IT FOLKS: Hes the new movie Superman and his current sweetie (in real life) is Kaley Cuoco. Shes not Lois Lane; shes Penny in The Big Bang Theory. Knock, knock, Penny; knock, knock, Penny; knock, knock, Penny. Thats the one.