Teachers advised to stop stressing about split infinitives, as study finds they are now part of everyday language


Many of us fear and sometimes despise learning the English language due to strict grammar rules we need to adhere to. But the good news is that grammarians are now relaxing on the rules and unconventional approaches to learning the language have gradually been zeroed out.

Any self-respecting grammar pedant would abhor splitting an infinitive and starting a sentence with “so” or “like”.

But a new study has revealed that conventions which disallow such practices are so widely flouted, they have effectively become part of modern spoken English.

Researchers have suggested that teachers no longer need to advise pupils against splitting infinitives or starting sentences with “so” or “like” since they are now in common parlance.

Language experts at Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press have garnered what they boast is the largest ever public collection of transcribed British conversations.

By examining the 11.5 million words, they unveiled an invasion of split infinitives since the 1990s, along with a growing tendency to put "like" and “so” at the start of sentences.

Use of the split infinitive, as exemplified by the famous Star Trek introduction "to boldly go where no-one has gone before", has almost tripled over the last three decades, the research shows.