An infinitive is the to form of a verb: to go, to be. Writers are often taught to avoid splitting infinitives—that is, to avoid placing a term, usually an adverb, between to and the verb: to boldly go.
But words should always be arranged in a way that makes the meaning of a sentence clear. Take the following example:
The repair service arrived quickly to fix the problem.
If the writer wishes to indicate that the repair service arrived in a timely manner, then the placement of quickly is correct. But if it’s the fixing that was done quickly, then quickly should be placed between to and fix:
The repair service arrived to quickly fix the problem.
Words should also be placed to avoid ambiguity. Take this next example:
She liked to read thoughtfully translated books.
Here, thoughtfully could describe read or translated. If thoughtfully is meant to describe read, then the infinitive should be split:
She liked to thoughtfully read translated books.
If thoughtfully is meant to describe translated, the sentence could be rearranged:
She liked to read books translated thoughtfully.https://style.mla.org/split-infinitives/?utm_campaign=sourcejul21&utm_medium=email&utm_source=mlaoutreach
Published 2 June 2021