September 08, 2012

To boldly split infinitives that no man has split before…

You may have had English teachers who tried to repeatedly make you believe that you need to strictly avoid using split infinitives — such as “to repeatedly make” or “to strictly avoid.”

However, as explained by the authoritative Oxford Dictionaries site: “There’s no real justification for their objection, which is based on comparisons with the structure of Latin. People have been splitting infinitives for centuries, especially in spoken English.”

And, if you’re a fan of Star Trek (like me) you know that people will boldly be splitting infinitives long into the future.

This was first revealed to us on September 8, 1966.

On that night, the original Star Trek series debuted on NBC-TV.

That’s when we first heard William Shatner, as starship Captain James T. Kirk, speak the famed introduction used at the beginning of the show’s opening credit sequence:

“Space – the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Of course, those last nine words became a famous TV catchphrase. And, “to boldly go” became the most famous split infinitive in modern history.

To English teachers who are willing to publicly agree that it is silly to always avoid using a split infinitive, I say “Live long and prosper.”

To those who still think it’s wrong to ever split an infinitive, I say: Hab SoSlI’ Quch!

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