The infinitive form of a verb is just the action that the verb describes. Most verb forms need to be inflected (i.e., the verb needs to have something added to the end like an "s," an "ed," an "es," etc.) based on the person or persons who are doing it, when it was done, whether it was actually done or just might have been done, etc. Like we said, we're not going to lay out a whole frickin' grammar textbook for you. The important point is that the infinitive form doesn't make reference to who does it or anything else. It is just the word "to" and the verb root. For example: "to eat," "to sleep," "to drink," and "to prestidigitate." Now that we know what an infinitive form is, we need to insist that the infinitive form of the verb be treated as if it were one word instead of two. It is a form of a verb, just like "ate," "slept," "drank," or "prestidigitated." It is incorrect to monkey about with this poor verb form and to split it up by putting extra words in between the "to" and the verb root. Sorry, trekkies: "to boldly go" just ain't right. Most of our grammar is inherited from Latin, and the infinitives in Latin are one-word (e.g., "comprendere," "facire," and "manere"). We don't know why we ended up with two-word infinitives, but we don't think it's fair to go taking liberties with our infinitives just because they seem vulnerable. Go ahead and say whatever you like, but don't write "to fastidiously sharpen," "to assiduously manipulate," "to ever so slightly dislodge," or anything of the sort.

We should note here that we have heard that the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, of all sources, has declared that split infinitives are no longer incorrect. We don't know where it gets off saying that, and we hope it was that execrable Oxford Dictionary of New Words, instead of the good old OED, but we are too scared to look. It seems that some people think they can make up the rules of grammar as they go along. We see no good reason to stop treating the infinitive form with respect and to place modifiers either before or after the two words which make up the verb. For example "to sharpen fastidiously," or "to manipulate assiduously," or "ever so slightly to dislodge." The important thing for you to remember is that there are many people, not all of whom are wearing smoking jackets and staring through bleary eyes at paintings of their clubs' founders, who will think that you don't know any better if you split your infinitives. We wince whenever we see a split infinitive in a news article or essay, and we don't even own smoking jackets or belong to clubs (yet). You just never know when someone who cares is going to see your writing and think ill of you.