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Word order question

 
 
Reply Wed 12 Jun, 2013 02:31 pm
Could someone help with this?

He promised to never steal again
He promised never to steal again

I've seen it written both ways and believe both are correct, but don't know how to explain the grammatical difference (if there is one)
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 914 • Replies: 5
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McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jun, 2013 03:33 pm
@ob1jonob,
It's to do with the infinitive form of the verb, in this case "to steal".

It used to be the case that it was deemed bad style, a mistake, to split the infinitive, as in "to never steal"

It is not considered a mistake nowadays, and you will find many examples of split infinitive, but in more formal writing it is still avoided.
dalehileman
 
  0  
Reply Wed 12 Jun, 2013 04:39 pm
@ob1jonob,
On a purely logical basis I prefer the first. For instance the second can be misread

I asked him to quit. Sure enough: He promised, never to steal again
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jun, 2013 09:46 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
It's to do with the infinitive form of the verb, in this case "to steal".


What in the world could it possibly have to do with a stunningly ignorant concoction that was never a rule of the English language, McTag?

Quote:
It used to be the case that it was deemed bad style, a mistake, to split the infinitive, as in "to never steal"


Only among idiots prone to following nonsensical prescriptions.

The Economist style guide

Quote:
Split infinitives
Happy the man who has never been told that it is wrong to split an infinitive: the ban is pointless. Unfortunately, to see it broken is so annoying to so many people that you should observe it.


Now just how stupid is that!
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jun, 2013 01:34 am
@JTT,

Quote:
Now just how stupid is that!


Another aggressive and petty reply from JTT.

Apparently The Economist style guide thought it worth a mention.

I hope never to see him again
I hope to never see him again.

They both mean the same, and neither is wrong (as I said before, before fielding the customary insults from friend JTT). However I prefer the former in this case, because it allows a certain stress on "never".
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jun, 2013 08:37 am
@McTag,
Quote:
Another aggressive and petty reply from JTT.


Another diversion from McTag.

Quote:
Apparently The Economist style guide thought it worth a mention.


The Economist thought it worthwhile to mention a silly concoction that was invented by faddish idiots that never had anything to do with the English language. Just how stupid is that, McTag?

Quote:
I hope never to see him again
I hope to never see him again.

They both mean the same, and neither is wrong (as I said before, before fielding the customary insults from friend JTT).


Don't make yourself out the martyr. I said that about The Economist. You don't think it's stupid to tell folks to follow a nonexistent rule because some prescriptive idiots get their panties in a bunch over this same nonexistent rule?

Quote:
However I prefer the former in this case, because it allows a certain stress on "never".


You see, there are valid reasons for language choices. Why bring up that some once thought the Earth was flat?
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