Motion chart of unsplit and split infinitives with NOT from COHA corpus

This chart shows the development of unsplit and split infinitives with the word NOT.

This was inspired by a nice exploration of split infinitives with NOT by Anthony Schmidt To be or not to be or to not be and Michael Brown To not mention it just feels right

Each bubble stands for a verb. The size of the bubble depends on the verb’s combined frequency in both split and unsplit infinitive constructions. The position of the verb indicates how frequently it occurs in the split (x axis) or unsplit (y axis) infinitive. The closer an verb gets to the diagonal from the lower-left corner to the upper-right corner of the plot, the more compatible it is with both constructions. The further right a verb goes, the stronger its preference for the split construction. The further up a verb goes, the stronger its preference for the unsplit construction.

Before you click on play, you may want to adjust playback speed (it’s the button right next to the play button). You may also want to change the display from raw frequencies (Lin) to log-transformed values (Log): this has the effect of spreading the data points and making tendencies easier to spot. [from A motion chart of Captain Kirk’s split infinitive with R and googleVis by Guillaume Desagulier]