Split-Infinitives

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longknife
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Split-Infinitives

Post by longknife » June 10th, 2014, 4:00 pm

A pretty good explanation of the subject.

A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler

http://catholicinsight.com/wp-content/u ... 60x239.jpg

I found this @ http://catholicinsight.com/a-dictionary ... lish-usage and wanted to share it with my fellow writers.

Oxford at the Clarendon Press, London, 1926

Split Infinitives. The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; and (5) those who know and distinguish.

Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, and are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes; “to really understand” comes readier to their lips and pens than “really to understand,” they see no reason why they should not say it (small blame to them, seeing that reasons are not their critics’ strong point) and they do say it, to the discomfort of some among us, but not to their own.

Read the full piece at the link.
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polymath
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Re: Split-Infinitives

Post by polymath » June 10th, 2014, 5:33 pm

Notice that Fowler's distinguishes "speaking" grammars from formal written word grammars. Also note that Fowler's English usage dictionary is about British dialects. Webster's English usage dictionary is about U.S. dialects. They differ quite a bit, as do British and U.S. cultures.

Split infintives are a case in point: some are natural and economical for speech and written word expression; some relate to two-word verbs wanting or requiring an intervening modifier. Which ones vary from dialect to dialect. Rhetoric overall trumps grammar. Grammar is itself a subset of rhetoric. Rhetorical usages are a kernel concept of usage dictionary content.

For example;

Many publishers expect electronic publishing to--more than just cause problems--enhance profits and benefits.

An informal and natural and economical U.S. idiomatic dialect rexpression.

A formal or British dialect might, for example, respect prescriptive infinitive syntax:

Many publishers expect electronic publishing to enhance profits and to provide for other benefits more than to focus on soley that electronic publication causes problems.
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