To continually develop OR continually to develop


I am aware of putting 'continually' between the infinitive verb and the verb, develop, but 'to continually develop' sounds better to me than 'continually to develop'. Regardless of my reason, is it still wrong? Should I never separate 'to' and 'develop'?

See example:

With an epistemological perspective arguing that the value of ethnographic studies is not merely defined by what ethnographical research is, but also by how it should meaningfully conduct, this chapter calls for attentions from online ethnographic researchers to continually develop approaches which enable them to act in an explicit, systematic manner to explore online and its culture at ease.
asked Jul 30 '12 at 20:37 Sunny Jang Jang New member

1 answer


I am more liberal when it comes to grammar than Tolley, and I do not agree with the rule that infinitives never should be split. It is impossible to split an infinitive in Latin. Therefore, prescriptivists argue, we should not separate "to" from the rest of the verb in English. Unfortunately,, slavish adherence to this "rule" sometimes results in convoluted sentences as the writer seeks to avoid the split infinitive.


Nonetheless, many writers/editors/teachers adhere to the rule. William Saffire wrote a column in the New York Times where he thoroughly debunked the rule's history, but then argued it should be followed because it represented the mark of an educated writer. So personally, I adhere to the rule whenever a clear, simple alternative exists -- breaking the rule only to avoid convoluted constructions. In your sentence, such an alternative exists -- "to develop continually" is clear, flows well, and pleases the ear.


As Tolley said, your sentence is too long, too wordy, and too complex. At 59 words, your sentence is more than 2.5 times the length of the average sentence in a doctoral dissertation. This does not mean that your paper will be 2.5 times better than a dissertation, or that you are 2.5 times smarter than the average postgraduate student. It merely means that even highly educated readers have trouble understanding your meaning. Break your sentence down into multiple, smaller sentences. Do not repeat words -- ethnography or ethnographic appears three times. I believe that as you rewrite your sentences, you will find other issues that need addressing.

link answered Jul 31 '12 at 00:31 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Very well-explained. Thanks on his behalf.

sanjayJul 31 '12 at 18:01

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