One of my former students, Sean Samis, sent me this blog about split infinitives. The infinitive version of a verb is “to __” (to run, to speak, to write, etc.). To split the infinitive refers to placing an adverb between the “to” and the rest of the verb. The example often given is from Star Trek: “to boldly go . . .” Boldly is the adverb splitting the infinitive “to go.”
The article recounts a story about diplomatic negotiations between the U.S. and Great Britain that led to the Treaty of 1871. As the story goes, the British conceded certain points to the U.S. in the treaty, but would not allow the language of the treaty to contain any split infinitives. According to Yale Professor Thomas Lounsbury, as quoted in the blog, the British sent a telegraph that the treaty’s wording “’would under no circumstances endure the insertion of an adverb between the preposition to (the sign of the infinitive) and the verb.’” Professor Lounsbury was recalling the treaty in 1904.