Splitting infinitives

The infinitive is the basic form of a verb that is found in the dictionary. It is usually preceded by to:

to be     to run     to talk

Splitting an infinitive means placing an adverb between the 2 parts of the infinitive:

to boldly go

The ‘rule’ against splitting an infinitive arose during the 19th century from a false analogy with Latin infinitives, which are single words and cannot be split (eg amare = to love).

Modern grammars and usage guides agree that splitting an infinitive is acceptable, especially if avoiding the split infinitive would make the sentence sound awkward or change its meaning. The split form sounds more natural because English adverbs often come directly in front of the verbs they modify.

User login

... or purchase now

An individual subscription is only A$60 per year

Group and student discounts may apply

Australian manual of scientific style Start communicating effectively