We can’t end this without mentioning Raymond Chandler’s response when a copy editor at the Atlantic Monthly decided to “fix” his hard-boiled prose: “When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will remain split.”That's the conclusion of this article by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellarman. But they begin with an oft-told story about Winston Churchill and his comment about ending a sentence with a preposition:
It’s a great story, but it’s a myth. And so is that so-called grammar rule about ending sentences with prepositions. If that previous sentence bugs you, by the way, you’ve bought into another myth. No, there’s nothing wrong with starting a sentence with a conjunction, either. ...After noting another myth about splitting infinitives, O'Conner and Kellarman answer these questions:
Where did these phony rules originate, and why do they persist?And then they add this advice:
As bloggers at Grammarphobia.com and former New York Times editors, we’ve seen otherwise reasonable, highly educated people turn their writing upside down to sidestep imaginary errors. There’s a simple test that usually exposes a phony rule of grammar: If it makes your English stilted and unnatural, it’s probably a fraud.I provide more similar advice at Garbl's Myths and Superstitions of Writing.