To boldly go…

I’ve always used that phrase from Star Trek as a sort of ‘split infinitive’ reminder. But I’m not sure why because I quickly learned that there is actually very little basis for the ‘ban’ on split infinitives. I often refer to my humourous but informative Bill Bryson books on matters like this, and he is of the same opinon.

What brought the subject to mind is a quotation in the Dorothy L Sayers biography I’m

Dorothy L Sayers

Dorothy L Sayers

reading (Dorothy L Sayers: Her Life & Soul, Barbra Reynolds). Regarding a radio play Dorothy had written, someone at the BBC, perhaps knowing of her reputation, meekly enquired: We wonder if you would allow us discreetly to edit the play she had written.

DLS could be very forthright to put it mildly, and the answer was an uncompromising NO! But it was the way the sentence was worded that caught my eye, because it simply doesn’t sound natural and I can’t help thinking that she had split infinitives in mind when she worded it.

People did tend to speak and especially write more formally in the 40s, but I still suspect that in normal conversation she would have said allow us to discreetly edit, which sounds much more natural and is why I completely ignore the split infinitive rule and boldly go about my writing.



About ramblesofawriter

Writer, thinker, tea drinker.
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