I've always understood that splitting infinitives should be avoided; e.g., instead of

To boldly go where no man has gone before.


To go boldly where no man has gone before.

With that in mind, I recently saw someone post the following comment on Facebook:

This is horribly written.

It struck me that a phrasing that sounds more natural to my ear is

This is written horribly.

In trying to determine why I prefer the latter, I realized that the adverb horribly splits the conjugated verb is written. Is this just personal preference, or is this "split conjugation" basically the equivalent of a split infinitive?

  • 4
    There's nothing wrong with the so-called 'split infinitive": "To boldly go" is far more natural than "to go boldly", and perfectly grammatical. Inserting the adverb "horribly" between"is" and "written" is not 'splitting the conjugation', as you call it; it's not slitting anything - they are separate constituents. Many adverbs have a lot of freedom when it comes to position. It's a free choice between "is horribly written" and "is written horribly", though I prefer the former. Both are grammatically fine.
    – BillJ
    Feb 11 '16 at 21:11
  • I might also argue that "written" could be considered an adjective in the example sentence given, rather than part of the verb. Feb 11 '16 at 21:24

Both of these types of 'splitting' are perfectly understandable, and therefore acceptable. (I just did one.)

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