[Taxacom] Split infinitives in scientific writing

Alec McClay alec.mcclay at shaw.ca
Fri Nov 8 12:43:50 CST 2013

"Split infinitives" are not a grammatical error in English - "even 
quite conservative grammar and usage books agree on this". See this 
post from an actual linguist: 

At 11:00 AM 08/11/2013, you wrote:
>Hi everyone,
>Split infinitives are a constant sources of problems to my students, 
>especially those whose mother tongue is not English. And I must 
>confess I also slip up now and again.
>I am busy compiling a list of commonly use split infinitives found 
>in scientific/taxonomic writing (that need to be corrected) as a 
>hand-out for my students. I would be most grateful to those of you 
>that have examples to please send these to me (I will acknowledge 
>you in the student hand-out). Maybe do this privately so I don't 
>clog up this Listserver with (what is in comparison to other topics) 
>a minor thread.
>A split infinitive I come across frequently in student and postgrad 
>work is "to scientifically test" which should be "to test 
>scientifically". Albeit, Word is now quite good at picking these up. 
>Being a "Star Trek" Fan, the most well know split infinitive is of 
>course "To boldly go where no one has gone before". Which should be 
>"To go boldly where no one has gone before" - but the correct 
>version just doesn't have the same emotional impact.
>How seriously do editors and reviewers take mistakes like this?
>Regards, in haste.

Alec McClay, Ph.D., P. Biol.

McClay Ecoscience
15 Greenbriar Crescent
Sherwood Park, Alberta
Canada T8H 1H8

Phone +1 780 464 4962
Mobile +1 780 953 4077
Fax     +1 780 410 0496
Skype alec.mcclay
Email <mailto:alec.mcclay at shaw.ca>alec.mcclay at shaw.ca or 
<mailto:biocontrol at mcclay-ecoscience.com>biocontrol at mcclay-ecoscience.com

Biological control, invasive species, insect-plant ecology  

More information about the Taxacom mailing list