Have you ever wondered what a split infinitive is? When a non-writer friend got curious as to what they were, he had trouble finding anyone who could explain it, and so he asked me (yikes!). So here is my explanation…
An infinitive in English is the ‘root’ form of a verb: To Go, To Eat, To Read, To Argue and so on. Notice that it comes with the ‘to’ at the front? That’s what tells us it’s an infinitive. Now if you put something between the ‘to’ and the verb, then you’ve ‘split’ it (as in the well known line “To boldly go…”)
My friend’s next question was Who Cares? Um, yeah.
I pointed out to him that most grammar rules are there for one reason – to ensure clarity. While I can’t think of an example where splitting the old infinitive would muddy the meaning or readability of a sentence, I guess it’s possible.