“To not undertake” or “not to undertake”

In Buckingham Palace’s statement on Prince Andrew they say this:

[He] will continue not to undertake any public duties…

This strikes me as a very awkward phrase. Would it have been better had they said:

[He] will continue to not undertake any public duties…

Or is the Palace’s original correct?


Both are correct, but the Palace version sounds more old-fashioned.

… To undertake …

is an infinitive. Whilst

… to not undertake …

is a split infinitive: the word ‘not’ has split the infinitive by inserting itself between the two parts of the infinitive.

Whilst the KJ Bible does not use the split infinitive and Shakespeare uses it once or twice, it became more common after the turn of the 18th C, with Wordsworth and Henry James using it. It’s an indicator of a more colloquial language.

Source : Link , Question Author : Fraser Orr , Answer Author : Mozibur Ullah

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