Split infinitives and prepositions

Subject: Split infinitives and prepositions
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 16:58:48 -0500

Although it's true that the commandments against splitting
infinitives and ending sentences with prepositions are
based on Latin, not English, grammar, there's an important
nugget of truth in each if you dig hard enough: the further
you separate two words that belong together, the greater
the likelihood that the reader won't be able to easily
reassociate the two words.

"To boldly go where nobody has gone before" is easy to
figure out. "To boldly, foolishly, with some trepidation
but nonetheless eagerly, bearing sword and buckler in hand,
looking both ways before crossing the street, go where..."
is considerably tougher: by the time you come to the "go",
you've probably forgotten what the author was talking
about. An extreme example, but you get the point: beware
overly long or convoluted intervening clauses.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.


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