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    #1

    to often split infinitives?

    I think split infinitives are often easier for me to understand than non-split infinitives. I know that some native speaker also split infinitives, but would I sound foreign if I split infinitives whenever the adverb modifies the verb after "to"? And the most common split infinitive I use is "to not".

    For these sentences (and most other sentences), I think that they sound much better and much easier to understand with a split infinitive than without.

    "I told him [to never do] that."
    "They allowed me [to not say] anything."
    "You ought [to not try] that."
    "I used [to not understand] it."
    "I had [to not let] anyone know about it."
    "I would like them [to also have] a pen."
    Last edited by dihen; 06-May-2006 at 17:43.

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    #2

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    Splitting infinitives is very common. Splits like 'to never do' or 'to really believe' are very common. With the negative, I split to show extra volition- with the examples you gave I don't think it works with 'ought' and with 'had to' there's no alternative except 'didn't have to' , but I think you could use it in the other cases, but I would use it sparingly to show a real difference..

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    #3

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    with had to' there's no alternative except 'didn't have to'
    But I was using 'had to not' as the past of 'must not', and I think 'had not to' is harder to understand. And I will tell you why I almost always split infinitives when the adverbs modifies the verb after 'to'; it is not for emphasis but because it makes the sentence easier for me to understand.
    Last edited by dihen; 04-May-2006 at 16:35.

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    #4

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    If it makes it easier to understand, then use them. End-position adverbs are often moved into the split position by people who think it makes it easier to understand.

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    #5

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    If it makes it easier to understand, then use them. End-position adverbs are often moved into the split position by people who think it makes it easier to understand.
    I wonder if most of them are foreigners.

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    #6

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    No- I often hear politicians in the UK doing it when interviewed. I think they think that it'll make the message clearer for the general public to move the adverb:

    1 We are planning to reform the current system for overseeing the pricing of
    mobile phones radically.

    2 We are planning to radically reform the current system for overseeing the pricing of mobile phones.

    2 is being used a lot nowadays. I think it makes the degree of reform clearer to many.

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    #7

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    Please answer me. I really want to know why "not to" is so much more common than "to not". Other than the prescriptive rule, is it because natives don't interpret "to" as how I interpret it?

    Look at the Google search results; it's much less than half. Why?

    824,000,000 for "not to"
    103,000,000 for "to not"

    3,120,000 for "seems not to"
    593,000 for "seems to not"

    4,760,000 for "ought not to"
    40,500 for "ought to not"

    5,630,000 for "hard not to"
    485,000 for "hard to not"

    ----------
    with 'had to' there's no alternative except 'didn't have to'
    Did you interpret "had to not" as "didn't have to" and not as the past of "must not"?
    Last edited by dihen; 12-May-2006 at 18:05.

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    #8

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    I think that changing the order to split adds emphasis, so that form will be less frequent.

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    #9

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen
    End-position adverbs are often moved into the split position by people who think it makes it easier to understand.
    So is it less common to split an infinitive with "not"? And are most people who use "to not" more often than "not to" foreigners?
    `
    These seem to be less common, but would natives say these?
    `
    "try to not..."
    "how to not..."
    "It's hard to not look."
    `
    Also, I seem to interpret the "to" as a type of "prepositional conjunction" that introduces a verb phrase, and therefore, I think that the split infinitive naturally sounds much better and easier to understand.
    `
    I interpret the structure like this:
    Does this happen to natives?
    `
    "try [to [not...]]"
    "how [to [not...]]"
    "It's hard [to [not look]]."
    "I told him [to [never do that]]."
    "They allowed me [to [not say anything]]."
    "You ought [to [not try that]]."
    "I used [to [not understand it]]."
    "I had [to [not let anyone know about it]."
    "I would like them [to [also have a pen]]."
    `
    And finally, a split infinitive without a verb:
    `
    "It's hard [to [not (omitted verb)]]."
    `
    Would any native speakers say that?
    `
    And I have always thought that not splitting the infinitive is moving the adverb of the infinitive out of its original position.
    `
    like this:
    `
    "You ought (not) [to [(trace) try that]]."
    Again, does this happen to natives?
    You still haven't answered these questions, why?
    `
    ----------
    Quote Originally Posted by dihen
    with 'had to' there's no alternative except 'didn't have to'
    Did you interpret "had to not" as "didn't have to" and not as the past of "must not"?
    And you haven't answered this question either.
    Last edited by dihen; 27-May-2006 at 17:03.

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    #10

    Re: to often split infinitives?

    Please be a bit more patient with our staff and members here. Tdol is currently moving house, from one country to another, and probably has:

    a) Little access to the internet
    b) Lots of things to do

    I'm sorry you still have problems but someone will probably answer them for you soon.

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