English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Possible Duplicate:
Are split infinitives grammatically incorrect, or are they valid constructs?

Star Trek's slogan:

To boldly go where no man has gone before.

"To boldy go" sounds right, but I was told by my friend that this is actually grammatically wrong because it is a split infinitive. I don't agree, because it seems to sound right. Is this a split infinitive, or something else?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt May 30 '11 at 9:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Reg, I'm not asking whether split infinitives are right or not, I'm asking whether this is a split infinitive or not. – Thursagen May 30 '11 at 10:58
What is the definition of split infinitive? Does the above sentence fit that pattern? Anyway, whether obvious or not, it's still a question whether split infinitives are 'correct' or not, which is answered in the duplicate. – Mitch May 30 '11 at 17:37
The second answer to that other question actually uses the Star Trek slogan as an example. – RegDwigнt May 31 '11 at 9:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think wikipedia explains it all:

A split infinitive is an English-language grammatical construction in which a word or phrase, usually an adverb or adverbial phrase, comes between the marker to and the bare infinitive (uninflected) form of a verb.

A split infinitive occurs in the opening sequence of the Star Trek television series: to boldly go where no man has gone before. Here, the adverb "boldly" splits the full infinitive "to go". More rarely, the term compound split infinitive is used to describe situations in which the infinitive is split by more than one word: The population is expected to more than double in the next ten years.

As the split infinitive became more common in the 19th century, some grammatical authorities sought to introduce a prescriptive rule against it. The construction is still the subject of disagreement among native English speakers as to whether it is grammatically correct or good style: "No other grammatical issue has so divided English speakers since the split infinitive was declared to be a solecism in the 19c [19th century]: raise the subject of English usage in any conversation today and it is sure to be mentioned". However, most modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to the split infinitive.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.