Hear, hear. One of the silliest rules people pass around. I particularly like the way Derek’s examples show how moving the adverb around changes meaning.
I’d add two points. One, “to boldly go” sounds so right because it’s iambic pentameter, one of the most natural rhythms for spoken English (Shakespeare’s meter).
Second, many “rules” like this evolved because 17th- and 18th-century pedants wanted to “improve” English by making it behave like Latin–ignoring the fact that English falls into an entirely different class of language than Latin. But hey, if Latin (one-word) infinitives can’t be split, we shouldn’t split English infinitives, either, even if they are two words.
Thanks to the Story Reading Ape for sharing this useful post!
on Just Publishing Advice:
Almost every style guide will tell you should avoid the split infinitive.
But is this generalised rule always valid?
We all know the famous Star Trek example of breaking the rule: to boldly go where no man has gone before.
It would sound awkward if I applied good English grammar. My grammar checker correction says it should read: to go where no man has gone before boldly.