Advertisement
HomeCollectionsSplit Infinitive
IN THE NEWS

Split Infinitive

FEATURED ARTICLES
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | October 31, 2013
It's long past time to have a look at that verbs entry in the AP Stylebook , because, and I say this out of a spirit of concern and disinterested helpfulness, it can't stand up to examination. The crucial part is this: "In general, avoid awkward constructions that split infinitive forms of a verb ( to leave, to help, etc) or compound forms ( had left, are found out, etc.)"* Now you have every reason to know that that is fudge. You must know that, because the split infinitive is a superstition of usage.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Let no one say that the editors of the Associated Press Stylebook  are a pack of mossbacks.  A couple of years ago, they (admittedly somewhat tardily) acknowledged that hopefully  is no more objectionable as a sentence adverb than sadly or mercifully . Then they abandoned the bogus over/more than  distinction, to the wailing and rending of garments by copy editors so inured to the tribal dialect journalese that they no longer recognize standard English when they see it.  So I continue to entertain hope for the stylebook.
Advertisement
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 19, 2012
You Don't Say is about to go silent for several days, along with my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Don't be alarmed; it's only temporary, and it's not for protective custody or a treatment facility or anything alarming. I will simply be non-electronic for several days. Rather than leave you adrift, I commend to you Mark Allen's (you do follow @EditorMark, don't you?) "Archive of tweeted tips," which should afford you considerable entertainment and instruction. The estimable Stan Carey has addressed the split-infinitive superstition at some length at "How awkwardly to avoid split infinitives.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 14, 2014
The screaming hasn't reached me yet (perhaps I should open the windows), but it's sure to come now that Oxford Dictionaries has announced the inclusion of, among other words, adorbs ,  binge-watch ,  cray ,  humblebrag , listicle ,  neckbeard ,  SMH ,  side boob ,  vape , and  YOLO .  When you hear someone braying that this is the greatest blow to civilization since Constantinople fell...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2013
At Throw Grammar From the Train , Jan Freeman poses a question worth considering: What is the top peeve? She says that Arnold Zwicky favors decimate  "for its persistence in the face of usage facts: The Peevy for Lifetime Achievement," and goes on to explain that both the strict and loose senses of the word have been contentedly present in English for centuries.  Some would favor hopefully , and 'struth, the sentence...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | April 5, 2012
Reactions to Robert Lane Greene's post at Johnson  on split infinitives  got me to thinking about the One Way Only crowd.  Specifically, it was a comment by David M. Rowe: Yes, avoiding split infinitives at all cost can be labored and pedantic. Making them the default usage, however, reduces an authors tone to the level of over-hyped consultants' jargon. ("Our model allows you to rapidly, effectively and inexpensively improve your forecasts. " Ugh!
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2014
Let no one say that the editors of the Associated Press Stylebook  are a pack of mossbacks.  A couple of years ago, they (admittedly somewhat tardily) acknowledged that hopefully  is no more objectionable as a sentence adverb than sadly or mercifully . Then they abandoned the bogus over/more than  distinction, to the wailing and rending of garments by copy editors so inured to the tribal dialect journalese that they no longer recognize standard English when they see it.  So I continue to entertain hope for the stylebook.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | November 20, 2013
Jonathon Owen's post at Arrant Pedantry , "12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes,"  has prompted some lively discussion in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter.* Someone took exception to his first point, about treating grammar  in the strict sense rather than including spelling and punctuation. The objection was that he shouldn't be strict on a point at which the broad sense has become well established in the language.  A remark by Jan Freeman on Twitter is very much to the point: "I say confusing spelling entirely diff from confusing sense, not the same order of error.
NEWS
By Peter A. Jay | December 5, 1996
HAVRE DE GRACE -- ''Why can't the English,'' demands Henry Higgins of Colonel Pickering, ''learn to speak?'' Speak properly, he means -- not like the h-dropping Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, or the unlettered primitives over in America.There's no good answer to Professor Higgins' question, which is still being asked on both sides of the water. There's as much despair over the state of the written and spoken language in our day as there was in his, which of course was before it came under intense assault by radio and television, as well as by newspaper writers.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 14, 2014
The screaming hasn't reached me yet (perhaps I should open the windows), but it's sure to come now that Oxford Dictionaries has announced the inclusion of, among other words, adorbs ,  binge-watch ,  cray ,  humblebrag , listicle ,  neckbeard ,  SMH ,  side boob ,  vape , and  YOLO .  When you hear someone braying that this is the greatest blow to civilization since Constantinople fell...
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | November 20, 2013
Jonathon Owen's post at Arrant Pedantry , "12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes,"  has prompted some lively discussion in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter.* Someone took exception to his first point, about treating grammar  in the strict sense rather than including spelling and punctuation. The objection was that he shouldn't be strict on a point at which the broad sense has become well established in the language.  A remark by Jan Freeman on Twitter is very much to the point: "I say confusing spelling entirely diff from confusing sense, not the same order of error.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | October 31, 2013
It's long past time to have a look at that verbs entry in the AP Stylebook , because, and I say this out of a spirit of concern and disinterested helpfulness, it can't stand up to examination. The crucial part is this: "In general, avoid awkward constructions that split infinitive forms of a verb ( to leave, to help, etc) or compound forms ( had left, are found out, etc.)"* Now you have every reason to know that that is fudge. You must know that, because the split infinitive is a superstition of usage.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | February 6, 2013
At Throw Grammar From the Train , Jan Freeman poses a question worth considering: What is the top peeve? She says that Arnold Zwicky favors decimate  "for its persistence in the face of usage facts: The Peevy for Lifetime Achievement," and goes on to explain that both the strict and loose senses of the word have been contentedly present in English for centuries.  Some would favor hopefully , and 'struth, the sentence...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 19, 2012
You Don't Say is about to go silent for several days, along with my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Don't be alarmed; it's only temporary, and it's not for protective custody or a treatment facility or anything alarming. I will simply be non-electronic for several days. Rather than leave you adrift, I commend to you Mark Allen's (you do follow @EditorMark, don't you?) "Archive of tweeted tips," which should afford you considerable entertainment and instruction. The estimable Stan Carey has addressed the split-infinitive superstition at some length at "How awkwardly to avoid split infinitives.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | April 15, 2012
It's the day after American Copy Editors Society's New Orleans conference, the cat has grudgingly conceded that I still live here, and Haydn's Symphony No. 90 is bouncing away in the background. Life is good, and ACES was grand. So grand that I would like to share some high points of my time in the Crescent City, beginning with a personal triumph. Pretty much all 350 participants showed up for the stylebook session Friday morning, at which Associated Press Stylebook editors David Minthorn and Darrell Christian touched off the bombshell that AP will cease to use periods when abbreviating United States . The moment of triumph came when they responded directly to my post "Fix it, AP Stylebook.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | April 5, 2012
Reactions to Robert Lane Greene's post at Johnson  on split infinitives  got me to thinking about the One Way Only crowd.  Specifically, it was a comment by David M. Rowe: Yes, avoiding split infinitives at all cost can be labored and pedantic. Making them the default usage, however, reduces an authors tone to the level of over-hyped consultants' jargon. ("Our model allows you to rapidly, effectively and inexpensively improve your forecasts. " Ugh!
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2012
I am not a bomb-throwing anarchist; I observe the stanch/staunch distinction and never identify plastic foam cups or dishes as Styrofoam. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of rubbish in the Associated Press Stylebook , entries that are badly outdated or simply wrong-headed. Moved purely by a spirit of generosity, I offer a few suggestions for improvement . The split verbs entry There is nothing wrong with placing an adverb between the preposition to and a verb in English, and never has been since Chaucer was a schoolboy.
NEWS
By JAMES J. KILPATRICK | February 23, 1993
Charleston, South Carolina. -- It is a truism, or so I had believed until last week, that writers need all the help we can get. Now that I have tried a new piece of software called PC-Proof, I'm not so sure. Given this kind of help, I'm inclined to reconsider.''This is the Grammar Checker you've been waiting for,'' said the flier. ''PC-Proof concentrates on finding serious grammatical errors. When PC-Proof detects a suspect sentence, it is presented to the user for proofreading. A short description of the suspect problem and how to fix it is provided.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2012
I am not a bomb-throwing anarchist; I observe the stanch/staunch distinction and never identify plastic foam cups or dishes as Styrofoam. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of rubbish in the Associated Press Stylebook , entries that are badly outdated or simply wrong-headed. Moved purely by a spirit of generosity, I offer a few suggestions for improvement . The split verbs entry There is nothing wrong with placing an adverb between the preposition to and a verb in English, and never has been since Chaucer was a schoolboy.
FEATURES
By Knight Ridder/Tribune | November 4, 1998
Inhibited writers and cowering English students can relax.It is now officially safe to selectively split infinitives. The newest "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage" from the prestigious Oxford University Press says so.Some of the nation's sterner English teachers -- you know who they are -- might be appalled, but most grammar observers -- including William Safire -- seem to accept it.Zarina Hock, managing editor for books at the 90,000-member National Council...
Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.