[Ads-l] Heard: "to not use" et sim.

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 13 01:33:53 EDT 2017

Some enjoy pointing out the "clumsiness" of the great lengths to which some
writers go, in order to avoid splitting an infinitive. This "clumsiness"
is, at best, a matter of opinion and not a matter of fact.

It’s my own opinion that an infinitive split with "not" must surely be the
clumsiest string in the English language, despite the fact the use of the
string is attested at least as far back in the history of English writing
as Wycliffe’s Bible.

Too bad that it’s not possible for me to force people to not do it. <sigh!>

As the punch-line and the line don’t go,

"At Harvard, they teach us to not piss on our hands."

"… to go boldly where no [human being] has gone before.

BTW, is it true that the English "rule" derives from the fact that
infinitives can't be split in Latin, except in cases like _futurus,a,um
esse_? I find that hard to believe, given that that's not the only way in
which Latin differs from English and not the only one with which a learned
English-speaker would once have been entirely familiar.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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