When to tell your inner word snob to go split an infinitive.


It’s 2 a.m. and you’re still in the office. Alone with your cold carryout. Rereading an important proposal.




Since winning this particular business will make or break your year and directly affect many lives (including yours), you’ve sourced an actual fine-tooth comb to make sure you’ve crossed and dotted everything that needs crossing and dotting.

At precisely 2:13, however, you see the offending sentence. Yes, that is a preposition taunting you at the end of a sentence.

Now what?

Do you tuck that preposition safely into the middle of the sentence? Or do you email the doc on your way out the door? This is when we need to heed our inner word geeks and shout down our inner word snobs.

Your inner word snob worries about what Mrs. Caldwell from tenth-grade English might say. Your inner word geek thinks about your actual readers. Will they trip over this sentence or does it still convey what you need it to?

Obviously, if you know your readers won’t approve, it’s best to rework that sentence until it’s right then say, “thank you, inner word geek.” It’s ultimately your call because they’re your readers.

Have you ever lived this story? We’d love to hear how it all turned out for you and your inner word geek.