I was taught that the infinitive particle "to" cannot be separated from the verb under no circumstances, but my friend (a Canadian) told me that she would prefer "I try to never tell a lie" over "I try never to tell a lie". Is it correct to squeeze anything in the middle?

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    Fowler: The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and distinguish. Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, and are happy folk, to be envied. In short, forget you ever heard about "split infinitives" - or at least, ignore anyone who tries to tie them in to "grammatical rules". – FumbleFingers Dec 14 '19 at 17:10
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    It's not your fault, but you've presented a bit of a problem by asking this here on ELL, because it was asked and very well answered on ELU before ELL even existed (as well as my above link, see also Is using split infinitive allowed in formal English?) But although we can vote to migrate questions from ELU to ELL, we can't vote to migrate in the opposite direction even if there's a clear-cut duplicate over there. (So I'll probably get told off for answering with just a comment! :). – FumbleFingers Dec 14 '19 at 17:29
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    Does this answer your question? What rule forbids "To boldly go where no man has gone before"? – Jason Bassford Dec 22 '19 at 14:35

English has a scheme where it uses certain words in front of verbs to modify the meaning of the verb:

  • Infinitive - to X.

  • Form of have to express perfect aspect - have/has/had X'ed

  • Form of do for emphatic/do-support - do/does/did X

  • Modals - would/should/could/may/might/ought/shall/will X

  • Form of be for passive or progressive - am/are/is/was/were X'ed/X'ing

Adverbs for X can come between those words and X.

to really go, have really gone, did really go, would really go, is really built.

Two adverbs with one of the above words in between is possible as well.

I want it to certainly have completely gone away by the time I get back.

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