second verb in negative

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"promise to not run away" or "promise not to run away"? Please explain the rules of similar verbs. Thanks
 

bertietheblue

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"promise to not run away" or "promise not to run away"? Please explain the rules of similar verbs. Thanks

Ah, we come to the toughy subject of split infinitives. The idea that you should not split an infinitive is fast fading but I would say that it is still more natural with negatives not to split the infinitive so 'not to' rather than 'to not' - complete coincidence (I think?) but I've just noticed that this very sentence contains an example of an unsplit infinitive in the negative and I don't think I'd be tempted to write 'to not split the infinitive'! But in informal speech, I'm sure even in the negative the infinitive is often split, so possibly 'not to' in formal English, but either in informal English.
 
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Ah, we come to the toughy subject of split infinitives. The idea that you should not split an infinitive is fast fading but I would say that it is still more natural with negatives not to split the infinitive so 'not to' rather than 'to not' - complete coincidence (I think?) but I've just noticed that this very sentence contains an example of an unsplit infinitive in the negative and I don't think I'd be tempted to write 'to not split the infinitive'! But in informal speech, I'm sure even in the negative the infinitive is often split, so possibly 'not to' in formal English, but either in informal English.
The text in red is from an earlier thread; that part of the thread relates to this thread.
I think that not only is splitting infinitives acceptable, sometimes it is the (most) direct and correct way to clearly state your meaning.

I did it not to become poor, but to follow my dream. (I did it to follow my dream, but I became poor as a result.)

I did it (in ordrer) to not become poor. (I did it to prevent myself from becoming poor.)

So the 'not to' and 'to not' grammars are both legitimate but have different meanings. (at least different emphases)

(What do you promise to do?)
I promise to not run away. (This sounds better to me than 'I promise not to run away.')

I don't think it's a matter of formal/informal or British/American English. I think it's a matter of precise grammar.
 

bertietheblue

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The text in red is from an earlier thread; that part of the thread relates to this thread.
I think that not only is splitting infinitives acceptable, sometimes it is the (most) direct and correct way to clearly state your meaning.

I did it not to become poor, but to follow my dream. (I did it to follow my dream, but I became poor as a result.)
I did it (in ordrer) to not become poor. (I did it to prevent myself from becoming poor.)OR 'I did it so as not to become poor'

So the 'not to' and 'to not' grammars are both legitimate but have different meanings. (at least different emphases)

(What do you promise to do?)
I promise to not run away. (This sounds better to me than 'I promise not to run away.')

I don't think it's a matter of formal/informal or British/American English. I think it's a matter of precise grammar.

I don't think it has anything to do with precise grammar. I think a good general principle, certainly in formal writing, is don't split the infinitive in the negative unless the context makes splitting preferable (which slightly adapts what I said earlier and allows for your tendentious use of the split), at least in GBEng.

'I promise not to run away' is preferable to 'I promise to not run away'

Also, you could never say 'to not' in an answer with the infinitive dropped

'Are you going to run away again?'
'No, I promise not to.'

I'm busy now but I'll come back to this later. Any other views out there?
 

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I don't think it has anything to do with precise grammar. But if you look at it look at it from a grammatic/semantic point of view, the split infinitive can be more precise, as in my examples. To me, that seems to be clearly so. I think a good general principle, certainly in formal writing, is don't split the infinitive in the negative unless the context makes splitting preferable That's what I'm saying. (which slightly adapts what I said earlier and allows for your tendentious use of the split), at least in GBEng.
Bias can apply both ways.

Anyway, you did say that the feeling against split infinitives is fading, and I am suggesting that there may be good reason for that.
2006
 
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bertietheblue

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On the one hand, you're saying the split inifinitive is more precise; on the other ('that's what I'm saying') you're agreeing that you shouldn't split the infinitive unless the context makes this preferable. So, which is it?

Anyway, I'm coming back to this post. The unsplit infinitive still has a last stand to fight!
 

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On the one hand, you're saying the split inifinitive is more precise; on the other ('that's what I'm saying') you're agreeing that you shouldn't split the infinitive unless the context makes this preferable. So, which is it?

Anyway, I'm coming back to this post. The unsplit infinitive still has a last stand to fight!
Maybe I didn't write it carefully enough.
But obviously I am not saying that the infinitive should always be split. One red sentence has a split infinitive and one doesn't. I am saying that sometimes splitting the infinitive makes sense.
 

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I said I'd come back to the split infinitive in negations. I'm confident academic sources will back up my stance but we'll see. I'll come back to this later but for now, wikipedia will have to do:

"Splitting infinitives with negations remains an area of contention:
I want to not see you anymore. I soon learned to not provoke her. Even those who are generally tolerant of split infinitives may draw the line at these.[10] This appears to be because the traditional idiom, placing the negation before the marker (I soon learned not to provoke her) or with verbs of desire, negating the finite verb (I don't want to see you anymore) remains easy and natural, and is still overwhelmingly the more common construction, even if some might argue that there are circumstances in which it carries a slightly different meaning."
 

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I said I'd come back to the split infinitive in negations. I'm confident academic sources will back up my stance but we'll see. I'll come back to this later but for now, wikipedia will have to do:

"Splitting infinitives with negations remains an area of contention: I'll take that to mean that there is disagreement about that. I want to not see you anymore. I soon learned to not provoke her. Even those who are generally tolerant of split infinitives may draw the line at these.[10] This appears to be because the traditional idiom, placing the negation before the marker (I soon learned not to provoke her) or with verbs of desire, negating the finite verb (I don't want to see you anymore) remains easy and natural, and is still overwhelmingly the more common construction, even if some might argue that there are circumstances in which it carries a slightly different meaning."
maybe not so slightly
Your links didn't work.
Anyway, it doesn't seem that I am the only one defending the splitting of infinitives. And I don't think that negations are a special case. In fact, just off the top of my head, I think that negation is a likely situation in which infinitives could be split.

Perhaps most importantly, I think that the logic of the red sentences speaks for itself. I am not at all inclined to back off from splitting infinitives.
 

bertietheblue

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Anyway, it doesn't seem that I am the only one defending the splitting of infinitives.

No, I am too. There is nowhere in any posting that I have said or suggested that there is anything wrong with splitting the infinitive, with the exception that the preference is not to do so in the negative, so I think it's unfair to imply otherwise.

I'll go further and say that, generally, I prefer the split infinitive (from now on I'll use this to mean in affirmative sentences lest my words get thrown back at me!) because it is usually more natural and the sense is often clearer - for example, in the structure:

verb form + adverb + to + infinitive

there is a danger that the adverb might be read as qualifying the first verb, whereas with:

verb form + to + adverb + infinitive

this ambiguity is removed.

I'll even break taboos in defence of the split infinitive - 1 or 2 proofreading colleagues still 'correct' split infinitives and if ever I notice these corrections I'll quietly undo them ('quietly' because to question a colleague's work is a no-no in this profession), unless of course there's good reason to unsplit the infinitive. The reason I do this is simple: we are telling the client they are wrong to split the infinitive when they're perfectly entitled to do so in most cases and if I was a client being told by some clever-clogs pedant that I shouldn't split the infinitive, I'd be royally p***ed off!

Note, I have used 'prefer', 'generally, 'usually' and such throughout my postings - I do not wish to be evangelical either way. So, if any non-native speakers are still reading this thread, I'll say this: whether you split the infinitive is a question of preference; there are only 2 important things to consider: is the sentence clear and does it sound natural?

As for splitting the negative infinitive, so far it's 2006 v wikipedia and me, but wikipedia is not the Word so I'll leave it for you to decide.
 
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