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2 January, 2012

Even if you buy the sales pitch for language being descriptive rather than prescriptive, splitting infinitives is at the very best inelegant and most certainly hound-dog lazy.  It is so incredibly simple to avoid doing it with a second or two of thought that one wonders why it is so common.  There are two simple solutions.

(1)  “The President decided to not attend the caucus” can be fixed as easily as moving the infinitive:  “The President decided not to attend the caucus.”  I’d argue that works fine, and not using that simple fix is about as hound-dog lazy as a writer can get, but split infinitives can be avoided entirely with just a bit more thought.  How about:

(2) “The President has decided he will not attend the caucus.”  What the heck is wrong with that?

It’s hound-dog lazy, I say.  Where has the sense of pride gone in writers?

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