Those pesky split infinitives!

Did you ever learn that you shouldn’t “split infinitives”? You probably know that it means to insert an adverb or adverbial phrase between “to” and a verb. The proponents of “no split infinitives” don’t like Star Trek’s mission “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” However, apparently, no such rule exists, according to many experts.

Grammarly says, “It’s generally preferable to place an adverb as close as possible to the verb it is modifying.” Also, it says, “Sometimes, even when a sentence could be rewritten to avoid splitting an infinitive without its meaning being obscured, the result sounds awkward, unnatural, or like the emphasis is in the wrong place.” Moreover, it says that split infinitives can make the meaning easier to understand and improve the rhythm or emphasis of the sentence.

Despite the popularity of the no-split-infinitives rule, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty says she has never found a grammar book that insists on the rule. Grammarly agrees that “Most usage experts today agree that there is no grammatical objection to the split infinitive and that there are quite a few circumstances in which splitting an infinitive can be preferable to leaving it intact.”

Grammar Girl adds, “The only logical reason to avoid splitting infinitives is that there are still a lot of people who mistakenly think it is wrong.” For example, if your boss insists on no split infinitives, I think that’s a fight not worth having.

So Star Trek can continue “to boldly go.”

Visual design vocabulary

As a writer, I typically don’t deal with visual design issues for content or systems. Design vocabulary is like a foreign language to me. So I was delighted to discover the Nielsen Norman Group’s visual design glossary.

Some of the words—like infographic—are familiar to me. Others—like skeuomorphism—are not. And, to be honest, I had to click on the related, more detailed link about skeuomorphism to understand what it’s about. But the NNG glossary still seems like a good starting point to uncover the mysteries of visual design lingo.

Public health updates

I’ve become interested in public health since the start of the pandemic. I recently started subscribing to the free version of the informative newsletter Your Local Epidemiologist. You might enjoy it too.

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Have a great summer! Happy Independence Day to all of my American readers!

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