In Buckingham Palace's statement on Prince Andrew they say this:

[He] will continue not to undertake any public duties...

This strikes me as a very awkward phrase. Would it have been better had they said:

[He] will continue to not undertake any public duties...

Or is the Palace's original correct?

  • 1
    He has not undertaken any public duties [recently]; He will continue not to undertake them. Very much the Queen's English, I'd say. Of course, the Palace's original is correct.
    – Lambie
    Jan 18, 2022 at 19:01
  • The Queen has spoken, and it is Her English. Even if it were not correct (which it is) it would be correct now.
    – Greybeard
    Jan 18, 2022 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


Both are correct, but the Palace version sounds more old-fashioned.

... To undertake ...

is an infinitive. Whilst

... to not undertake ...

is a split infinitive: the word 'not' has split the infinitive by inserting itself between the two parts of the infinitive.

Whilst the KJ Bible does not use the split infinitive and Shakespeare uses it once or twice, it became more common after the turn of the 18th C, with Wordsworth and Henry James using it. It's an indicator of a more colloquial language.

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