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Which of these two phrases would be correct in a sentence:- 'To better share' or 'to share better'?

marked as duplicate by Chenmunka, anongoodnurse, Marthaª, Robusto, user66974 Oct 15 '14 at 16:04

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  • That depends on the sentence. Phrases are not grammatical or ungrammatical in themselves, only as part of a particular sentence. Which sentence did you have in mind? – John Lawler Oct 13 '14 at 15:54
  • It depends on the sentence. 'The children are learning to share better' but 'He's learning idiomatic French to better share his results with the neurosurgeons over there'. And 'The children have learnt to share their feelings better over the last year'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 13 '14 at 15:55

Traditionally, splitting an infinitive, having an adverb between 'to' and the verb, was a no-no. The Chicago Manual of Style's website states,

"CMOS has not, since the thirteenth edition (1983), frowned on the split infinitive. The sixteenth edition suggests, to take one example, allowing split infinitives when an intervening adverb is used for emphasis (see paragraphs 5.106 and 5.168)."


The Oxford Dictionaries states,

"The ‘rule’ against splitting infinitives isn’t followed as strictly today as it used to be. Nevertheless, some people do object very strongly to them. As a result, it’s safest to avoid split infinitives in formal writing, unless the alternative wording seems very clumsy or would alter the meaning of your sentence."


As one of those 'some people' I would use 'to better share' only if the emphasis is meant to be on the modifier rather than the verb. The iconic American English example is from Star Trek, "...to boldly go where no man has gone before." The context of the rest of the sentence would indicate whether you should split the infinitive or not.

  • 1
    This is, of course, all under the assumption that split infinitives actually exist, that is, that to is somehow part of the infinitive. This is an assumption that is no longer shared amongst all grammarians - to put it mildly. There are those (including here on ELU) that will flatly tell you that terms like "bare infinitive" and "split infinitive" do not exist and they are fallacies. – oerkelens Oct 13 '14 at 15:04

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