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To boldly go

Posted by Bob on July 09, 2006

In Reply to: To boldly go posted by Smokey Stover on July 09, 2006

: : : Ive heard the phrase 'to boldly go' is grammatically incorrect and 'to go boldly' would be the correct phrasing. To settle a minor disagreement, could you please forward the literary term for this mistake please? thanks.

: : It's called a split infinitive and it is not incorrect. It's in violation of an archaic, fussy, irrelevant rule that few people take seriously today.

: And there you have it. A cherished (by some) tradition summarily dismissed as archaic, fussy and irrelevant. Verbal overkill asied, Bob's right--by an large. When I was a briefly a copy editor I always corrected split infinitives if it could be done without altering the sense. But I agree that it is not a solecism (usually), just a matter of style. If the original writer has failed to do so, the editor tries to make the paragraphs flow smoothly, without the reader having to pause to figure out the syntax. Many readers will pause to curse the writer if they run into a split infinitive, which is why editors sometimes make them disappear.

: As for "to boldly go," it could be replaced either by "to go boldly" or by "boldly to go." Split infinitives always have a context, and good editors try to be sensitive to the context. But in this case, the writer was presumably the producer of the show, not to be overruled by any editor.
: SS

I'm grateful not to be alone on this campaign. I, too, will edit out split infinitives from time to time, just to keep purists from yelping. It usually does no harm to change them, just as it does no harm to leave them alone. It is not, as they say, of intergalactic consequence.

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