Splitsville

2020-01-14T14:17:03-05:00

Splitsville One of the great controversies of English grammar is whether a full infinitive – to eat, to sleep, to play – can be split by an adverb or other interloper. Beginning in the nineteenth century, many grammarians, reinforced, in time, by innumerable teachers, condemned this practice, asserting, as Henry Alford did in 1864, that "we ever regard the to of the infinitive as inseparable from its verb." Thus, Alford deprecated "to scientifically illustrate" when "scientifically to illustrate" and "to illustrate scientifically" would do. What should have been treated as a matter of taste became a litmus test of quality. As [...]