Avoiding Split Infinitives in Your Writing

Split Infinitives

Part of the Award-Winning My Guide Series of Self-Help Books

When writing a book you should avoid inserting split infinitives as this is one of the keys to great writing.

And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before – and thus was the Empire forged.

Douglas Adams

Splitting an infinitive means inserting a word or phrase between the word to and the verb. A split infinitive is when the word to is separated from the infinitive by an adverb. The most famous example we can use, which sounds clumsy, is from Star Trek:

  • To boldly go where no man has gone before.

Notice how ‘to go’, the infinitive, has been split by the insertion of the adverb, ‘boldly’; ‘boldly to go’ or ‘to go boldly’ would be more correct, but again these don’t sound natural.

Generally, you will do this automatically and it will be correct, but if this area is one of your weaknesses, you should be extra vigilant. Some agree that this rule is now obsolete. Below, we have given you an example of a split and un-split infinitive within a sentence:

  • I decided to leisurely view the landscape (split infinitive).
  • I decided to view the landscape leisurely (un-split infinitive).

Order your own copy of My Guide: Grammar Rules! from Amazon now or contact Claire Pickering at The Editing House for all your grammar, proofreading and editing needs.


Author: admin

Experienced, professional proofreading and editing service with over 15 years' experience in the publishing industry. Current clients include Hay House Publishers, Harper Collins, Bonnier, Flame Tree Publishing, Eddison Books and John Hunt Publishing. Material handled ranges from fiction to academic. Published author and developer of the award-winning My Guide series of self-help, wellness and how-to books designed to improve lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *