traffic analysis

Thursday, July 30, 2009




"Perhaps the most notorious of all grammatical mistakes is the split infinitive. English teachers have railed against this offense since time immemorial, but it is one that not even the most astute student of grammar is immune from making. Even starship captains are guilty of this crime. In the original Star Trek television show, Captain James T. Kirk, in his opening monologue, declares the Enterprise's five-year mission to be 'to boldly go where no man has gone before.'

"Captain Kirk has split his infinitive, to go, straight down the middle with the adverb boldly: to boldly go. A split infinitive is any infinitive phrase construction that separates the infinitive marker to from the verb. The most common splits occur when modifiers are misplaced: to thoroughly wash, to loudly sing, to joyfully dance. This was Captain Kirk's mistake.

"As a general rule, the marker and the verb should be consecutive items in the infinitive phrase: to wash thoroughly, to sing loudly, to dance joyfully.

"Without the split infinitives, the sentences are much easier to digest. Captain Kirk should have stated his mission to be 'to go boldly where no man has gone before.'

"The split infinitive is not always an act of grammatical mayhem. Some well-known writers have taken artistic license to split infinitives, but they have done so carefully and judiciously. They use split infinitives to emphasize certain points or simply to create more poetic constructions."


Yes, I am guilty of the offense. In speaking and writing I sometimes attempt to eloquently, verbosely, superfluously drive home a point. Your assignment dear reader, is to go through my blog posts and to correctly point out to me wherein I have committed this error. You see my editor has gone on a multiple and indefinite leave to the US. I do not know now how to properly go about my blog posting. You are most welcome to promptly correct me.

"When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it stays split." -- Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) American novelist and screenwriter (The Big Sleep) in a letter to his publisher.

Sige, split muna ako...


  1. Aside from the excellent points made for and by writers like you, split infinitives definitely make the language richer. Except for the old school English teachers, I guess this is where the written word and the spoken word happily co-exist. Linguists have come along and have agreed to happily support this as well. (heh) Then again, linguists are more interested in the spoken word. After all, how can one explain the infixes that are common place like: un-f*cking-believable or in-f*cking-comprehensible.

    And now that certain naughty words are allowed on TV, William Shatner, parodying Captain Kirk can now say, in his odd staccato delivery, "To boldly goddamn go (dramatic pause) where I want to boldly goddamn go."

  2. @Rory... I think it should be: "To goddamn boldy go where I goddamn bloody want to go" hehehe

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.