1 6 7 8  10 11 12 13
"You can split them in German too, but people will laugh in your face!"

I suppose they might do that, or they might simply look at you funny, if you said "Ich habe es sehr gern, zu schell gehen" instead of "schnell zu gehen".

Okay, let's see if you can follow this (I do realize your grasp on logic is shaky at best, but I'm optimistic, if nothing else):

SUPERSTITION:
- If you walk under a ladder, you will bring bad luck on yourself.

NOT SUPERSTITION:
- If you split an infinitive, you will bring laughter on yourself.

How does that work? Not the actual "laughing" part, but the way that you define one as a superstition and the other as not?

johnF
I suppose they might do that, or they might simply ... sehr gern, zu schell gehen" instead of "schnell zu gehen".

Okay, let's see if you can follow this (I do realize your grasp on logic is shaky at best, but ... Not the actual "laughing" part, but the way that you define one as a superstition and the other as not?

Because the 'laughter' is quite possibly real, dumbass! The "bad luck" is entirely irrational.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Okay, let's see if you can follow this (I do ... define one as a superstition and the other as not?

Because the 'laughter' is quite possibly real, dumbass! The "bad luck" is entirely irrational.

Okay, that's for German.
Now, show me how the 'laughter' for a split infinitive in English is real. I'm willing to bet big money that I could split many infinitives in front of many people and get very few reactions of 'laughter' or even, as you predict for German above, funny looks. Or how about when the opening credits of Star Trek come on... shouldn't the sound editors add a laugh-track to that at the appropriate place?

johnF
Because the 'laughter' is quite possibly real, dumbass! The "bad luck" is entirely irrational.

Okay, that's for German. Now, show me how the 'laughter' for a split infinitive in English is real. I'm willing ... of many people and get very few reactions of 'laughter' or even, as you predict for German above, funny looks.

I cringe. Does that count?
Or how about when the opening credits of Star Trek come on...

Why would you consider "Star Trek" an exemplar of good English usage?
shouldn't the sound editors add a laugh-track to that at the appropriate place?

I would suppose I would have to ever, or perhaps to quickly and easily, for you to immediately my point.
Or how about when the opening credits of Star Trek come on...

Why would you consider "Star Trek" an exemplar of good English usage?

I'm not. But you made a prediction (well, kind of) that a split infinitive in German would produce laughter with optional funny looks.
Your argument has been throughout this whole painful, months-long ordeal that what happens in German should set the stage for how English performs (or else why are you quoting yard after yard of German and trying to show that "to" and "zu" are cognate?).

Therefore, if the split infinitive produces laughter/funny looks in German (as you claim it does) and English and German share this particular aspect of grammar, one testable prediction is that the split infinitive should also produce laughter/funny looks in English, too.
The opening credits to Star Trek has been seen by thousands of people thousands of times. That's a grammaticality/acceptability judgement test on a scale that linguists would have wet-dreams about. How many people laugh and/or produce funny looks when those opening credits come on? As a percentage of all that have seen it, I mean. Just replying "Well, I do." is hardly the kind of sample size that will suffice.

johnF
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Why would you consider "Star Trek" an exemplar of good English usage?

I'm not. But you made a prediction (well, kind of) that a split infinitive in German would produce laughter with optional funny looks.

Which has nothing to do with 'superstition'. Dig?
Your argument has been throughout this whole painful, months-long ordeal that what happens in German should set the stage for how English performs (or else why are you quoting yard after yard of German and trying to show that "to" and "zu" are cognate?).

My point is this: if German does just fine without it, why do we need it in English?
Therefore, if the split infinitive produces laughter/funny looks in German (as you claim it does) and English and German share this particular aspect of grammar, one testable prediction is that the split infinitive should also produce laughter/funny looks in English, too.

I cringe. Does that count?
The opening credits to Star Trek has been seen by thousands of people thousands of times. That's a ... have seen it, I mean. Just replying "Well, I do." is hardly the kind of sample size that will suffice.

Cringe. Groan.
(snip)

From m-w.com:

Superstition 1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, ... say against?) split infinitives to be an excellent target for the word 'superstition' - a fine choice by Robert Lieblich.

How so?
It succinctly communicates that there is no authority enforcing the prohibition and no penalty for breaching it, but that the ignorant and confused maintain the practice because they heard a rumour once that it was a good thing to do.[/nq]That's not the essence of 'superstition'. The fundament of 'superstition' is that there is nothing supporting the belief whatsoever, that it is causeless. Furthermore, 'superstition' has nothing to do with what one 'should' do, only with the unfortunate circumstances that will occur if one does them. There is no 'superstition' that splitting an infinitive will bring you bad luck or misfortune. There is no 'superstition' that ending a sentence with a preposition will cause your children to die.

It is misleading and quite odd, in fact, to call certain language practices 'superstitions', becaus ethere is nothing concerning cause and effect about them. It is entirely a matter of "proper behaviour". Do you refrain from urinating at the altar of your church? Do you stop at red lights? Why? Because it's considered 'proper' behaviour and nothing else. In just the same way, German speakers refrain from sticking anything between 'zu' and the infinitive.

It's simply not done, and for no reason than that it's simply not done. People who are brought up properly don't urinate at the altar and don't split infinitives. It's simply a mark of good upbringing.
Futhermore, there is the connotation that these people believe correct sentence formation to be a 'black art'; there is no ... a paragraph's worth of meaning into a single word is a height to which I aspire, but so rarely reach.

Too bad: he didn't even originate that usage. It was Fowler.
snip
shouldn't the sound editors add a laugh-track to that at the appropriate place?

I would suppose I would have to ever, or perhaps to quickly and easily, for you to immediately my point.

UC, I hope you will admit that you're not splitting an infinitive there. Call it a dangling infinitive, if no better term exists.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
snip

I would suppose I would have to ever, or perhaps to quickly and easily, for you to immediately my point.

UC, I hope you will admit that you're not splitting an infinitive there. Call it a dangling infinitive, if no better term exists.

Wha?? You obviously don't "get it".
Show more