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    #1

    to carefully listen vs. to listen carefully

    I've recently read that splitting infinitives is not correct or at least not desirable.
    E.g. 'You must try to carefully listen'.
    I used to do that a lot because I thought it sounded better when splitting the infinitive. Since I'm not sure of the reliability of the site where I have read this information, I also wanted to ask for your opinion. Is splitting the infinitive correct or not?
    Thank you!

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    #2

    Re: to carefully listen vs. to listen carefully

    Click here to find links to many previous threads on this topic.

    I found this page by typing 'Split infinitives' in the Google Custom Search box near the top of the page.

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    #3

    Re: to carefully listen vs. to listen carefully

    Quote Originally Posted by mihallure View Post
    Is splitting the infinitive correct or not?
    People do split infinitives. A small number of people claim it is wrong. There are no grounds for this claim at all, but they make a lot of noise about it. I see no reason to split the infinitive in your example. I do it when it helps with the flow and keeps the adverb close to the verb when it might otherwise get stranded somewhere.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: to carefully listen vs. to listen carefully

    Quote Originally Posted by mihallure View Post
    I've recently read that splitting infinitives is not correct or at least not desirable.
    E.g. 'You must try to carefully listen'.
    I used to do that a lot because I thought it sounded better when splitting the infinitive. Since I'm not sure of the reliability of the site where I have read this information, I also wanted to ask for your opinion. Is splitting the infinitive correct or not?
    Thank you!
    I agree with Tdol. In most cases, a single adverb placed between "to" and the verb form is acceptable and results in no change of meaning.

    Your example: to listen carefully" and "to carefully listen" is one of them. There are some cases in which I think the infinitive splitting adds a more proactive meaning to the phrase, particularly with a negative adverbial. Example: "I am trying not to fail this class" versus "I am trying to not fail this class". For me the second is more proactive than the first. Others will probably disagree.

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    #5

    Re: to carefully listen vs. to listen carefully

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Example: "I am trying not to fail this class" versus "I am trying to not fail this class". For me the second is more proactive than the first. Others will probably disagree.
    I do this too, but wonder how many get the intention.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: to carefully listen vs. to listen carefully

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I do this too, but wonder how many get the intention.
    I don't know.

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