Author Topic: Quick Q: has been secretly funding or has secretly been funding  (Read 1788 times)

Offline mafiaking1936

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I'm not sure if a line should be:

a foreign bank has secretly been funding both sides of the war

or

a foreign bank has been secretly funding both sides of the war

Is there a rule about this? If not, which sounds better? A quick search found only some snarky stackexchange forum posts that didn't actually answer the question. Thanks!

Offline Waterfall

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Re: Quick Q: has been secretly funding or has secretly been funding
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2018, 10:33:34 AM »
The definition of a "split infinitive" is the insertion of an adverb within a compound verb construction. Therefore, "been funding" is the verb, and "secretly" is the adverb modifier that should live outside it.

That said, grammar is a tool with which we build. Raymond Chandler once wrote to an editor, "By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words of barroom vernacular, this is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed but attentive. The method may not be perfect, but it is all I have."

You're making music. Play the notes the way that the emotion feels strongest.

Offline mafiaking1936

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Re: Quick Q: has been secretly funding or has secretly been funding
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2018, 10:54:29 AM »
Aha, that's what I suspected. I just didn't know of that counted as an infinitive. This is for my synopsis so I'd rather be correct in this case. Thanks again!

Offline Waterfall

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Re: Quick Q: has been secretly funding or has secretly been funding
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2018, 01:28:26 PM »
Actually, now that I look at it again, it's obvious that the entirety of the verb phrase is "has been funding," so "secretly" is inserted into the verb either way. Duh.  :emb2:

And it sounds clumsy taking "secretly" outside the phrase altogether.
  • a foreign bank secretly has been funding both sides of the war
  • a foreign bank has been funding secretly both sides of the war
Probably the safest thing to do is to stick it at the end: A foreign bank has been funding both sides of the war secretly. Or... A secretive foreign bank has been funding both sides of the war. Or...

I say go for what sounds most musical in the context of the whole paragraph.

Offline MookyMcD

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Re: Quick Q: has been secretly funding or has secretly been funding
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2018, 01:47:49 AM »
Your discomfort with the phrase may come from the passive voice more than the place you're putting the adverb.
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