How do I not give a fuck that the title of this sub splits the infinitive?

Ask yourself questions:

  • Who told you that splitting an infinitive is bad?
  • When did you learn it was bad?
  • Why is it bad?
  • What type of person splits an infinitive?
  • What type of person doesn't?
  • What would happen if you split your infinitives? How would it affect you socially?
  • You think that not-splitting an infinitive is "good". What makes it good? What is it good for?

It's about identity. The only reason grammar is important is because it's part of the social contract of language. But splitting infinitives, and every other element of grammar, is not a mathematical absolute. Grammar is fluid. It changes. It changes over time and culture. It changes person to person.

Your following a rule that you learned in school. Or perhaps your family's ideology. It may be hard to see, but it's part of your identity.

You might think "good grammar" is good. It's not. It's neither good nor bad in an absolute sense. In fact, "good grammar", as you currently understand it--is a myth. Go look up linguistics and the difference between prescriptivism and descriptivism. Different grammars of English are used by different socio-economic groups.

Another common misconception is that double negatives are wrong in a kind of absolute sense. They are only wrong relative to some standard, or relative to some dialect. They aren't wrong relative to other dialects.

Here's another way to look at it.. let's expand the subject to language and vocabulary. The grammar, language, and vocabulary that you have under your command right now is not the best in the world. There are social circles that would look down upon you for not having better vocabulary, for example. You might be shunned or outcast or looked-down upon by some people who are more intelligent and more capable than you in the realm of language ability. How does that make you feel when you think about it? If such a thought creates any negative feelings, that's a clue that you care too much about what other people think.

Another way to look at it. You're "good at" certain things like grammar. Especially, you're "good at" spotting split infinitives. We all tend to do things that we're good at. And we think that things we are good at, are Good. Just recognize that it's something you're good at. But what is it good for? Maybe helping someone write a paper. Or perhaps writing a blog and avoiding criticism about your grammar. Or maybe avoiding criticism from people in your social circle. The use of proper grammar allows one to navigate within certain social circles.. but the "properness" is only relative to the particular social circle that you are navigating within.

And maybe it gives you self esteem because your life isn't all that it's cracked up to be. That's a tricky one. Learning howtonotgiveafuck also means rooting out those things in your life that give you self esteem only because they give you some perceived social advantage over others. But that's also a trap, because it subtly binds you to the illusion of the necessity for social advantage in order to feel good about yourself.

There's nothing wrong about being good at something. And there's nothing wrong about noticing a split infinitive. That's a skill you have, and it can be useful for a purpose. But to believe that it has some absolute value is an illusion.

/r/howtonotgiveafuck Thread