completely depend on

< Previous | Next >

lapdwicks

Senior Member
Sinhala
Dear all,

I want to know how to include the word "completely" in the following sentence.

Somebody is believed to depend on something.

Which way is the best to follow? (It should mean he completely depends on it, not on anything else.)

1. Somebody is believed to completely depend on something. (My choice)
2. Somebody is completely believed to depend on something.
3. Somebody is believed completely to depend on something.
4. Somebody is believed to depend on completely something.

Thanks

An addition

5.
Somebody is believed to depend on something completely.

Thanks
 
Last edited:
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The general rule is to put the adverb after the verb it modifies. It's the depending which is complete, not the believing, so I'd say:

    Somebody is believed to depend completely on something.

    Your choice, 1., splits an infinitive gratuitously. I don't think you've included my preference in your list of options, for some reason.
     

    xpmrz

    Member
    Vietnamese
    The general rule is to put the adverb after the verb it modifies. It's the depending which is complete, not the believing, so I'd say:

    Somebody is believed to depend completely on something.

    Your choice, 1., splits an infinitive gratuitously. I don't think you've included my preference in your list of options, for some reason.
    I'm not native but as far as I have been taught, the position of adverbs is quite complicated. There are three possible positions of adverbs (First, Mid, End ) and the proper position depends on the type of adverb ( Time, Manner, Place, Certainty, Focusing, Viewpoint, Degree... ). "Completely" is a adverb of degree, therefore in my knowledge it is put at the middle, after the auxiliary verb and before the main verb of the clause/phrase it modifies.

    Hence in my opinion the first choice is reasonable. I also tried to search google with "to depend completely" and "to completely depend", resulting about 429000 and 2250000 respectively
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not native but as far as I have been taught, the position of adverbs is quite complicated. There are three possible positions of adverbs (First, Mid, End ) and the proper position depends on the type of adverb ( Time, Manner, Place, Certainty, Focusing, Viewpoint, Degree... ). "Completely" is a adverb of degree, therefore in my knowledge it is put at the middle, after the auxiliary verb and before the main verb of the clause/phrase it modifies.

    Hence in my opinion the first choice is reasonable. I also tried to search google with "to depend completely" and "to completely depend", resulting about 429000 and 2250000 respectively
    I should have pointed out earlier that the objection to to completely depend is that it splits the infinitive gratuitously, which disqualifies it for a lot of people.

    I'm pleased to see that the ngrams are on my side.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, this surprisingly turns out to be a controversial problem among linguists. There is no consensus yet : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_infinitive
    I hope this doesn't mean that you're going to ask me to endorse a formula which I dislike, or that you are suggesting that I'm proposing a blanket ban on split infinitives.

    I think we need to look beyond the Wiki article. Look at the ngrams, and please pay attention to the fact that the splitting would, in my view, be gratuitous here. Notice that even the tendentious article which you quote acknowledges that 'attempts to define the boundaries of normality are controversial'. I can see no ambiguity which would be avoided here by splitting, which is why I called it gratuitous.

    There are occasions where there are good rhythmic and idiomatic reasons for splitting; I can see none here.
     

    xpmrz

    Member
    Vietnamese
    I hope this doesn't mean that you're going to ask me to endorse a formula which I dislike, or that you are suggesting that I'm proposing a blanket ban on split infinitives.

    I think we need to look beyond the Wiki article. Look at the ngrams, and please pay attention to the fact that the splitting would, in my view, be gratuitous here. Notice that even the tendentious article which you quote acknowledges that 'attempts to define the boundaries of normality are controversial'. I can see no ambiguity which would be avoided here by splitting, which is why I called it gratuitous.

    There are occasions where there are good rhythmic and idiomatic reasons for splitting; I can see none here.
    At first I thought the word completely should precede the word depend. But when I delved more into the problem, I saw that both of the formulas are acceptable, to some extent. So in terms of which way is the best to follow, as the thread starter asked, I agree with you that to depend completely would be the best choice here and more formal.
    Besides that, to completely depend is also probable. Since it is still in controversy, its use of it is not strictly forbidden. I hope this could expand the topic and help the thread starter avoid confusion when meeting that phrase in the future.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top