Negative Infinitives

Saturday, September 3, 2022


Here’s an inspiring quote from Albert Einstein: "Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

In this quote there is a great example of a grammar rule, which is how to make an infinitive negative. The famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet “To be, or not to be?” can help you remember the rule too: When making an infinitive negative, you put “not” before the infinitive.


  • Marco decided not to go to Paris.
  • Olga chose not to fly on the holiday. 
  • I always try not to be late.
  • It’s best not to drive if you are tired. 

An infinitive is the basic form of a verb with "to": to + verb  (example: to sing/to drive/to go). A split infinitive occurs whenever a word appears between ‘to’ and the verb. Here are those same sentences as split infinitives: 

  • Marco decided to not go to Paris.
  • Olga chose to not fly on the holiday. 
  • I always try to not be late.
  • It’s best to not drive if you are tired. 

Generally, experts don’t approve of split infinitives so the recommendation is to use them only  in informal situations.

 Try not to forget this grammar rule ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment