So what is a split infinitive anyway? (The thirty-second answer.)

So what is a split infinitive?

I’m going to quickly give you an example.

That’s it! I just gave it. To give is the infinitive form of the verb give, and I have split it with quickly.

Splitting an infinitive is not a crime against grammar, but it’s not the most elegant construction either. We do it all the time in spoken word – I’m just going to quickly brush my teeth – but in writing it can be a bit clunky. A better option for that opening sentence would be: I’m going to give you a quick example.

The ‘rule’ of not splitting the infinitive is a bit fuddy duddy, but it’s a useful thing to understand.

For an amusing explanation of the history of this ‘rule’, check out the fabulous Grammar Girl.

Or for more word-nerdery try this post on dangling and squinting modifiers (which are a crime against grammar).

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