As brilliantly highlighted in a recent installment of the web comic XKCD; the title of the latest Star Trek film has precipitated a grammar smack down on a Wikipedia talkpage between whether the “into” in the title Star Trek Into Darkness should be capitalized. Most of this “controversy” probably would have never occurred if a colon had been present in the title. So what’s the big deal?
Grammar snobbery is something we enjoy at Tor.com (we recommend the Merriam Webster Ask the Editor Series for a more fun, relaxed take on grammar) especially when grammar outrage gets to silly levels.
It’s not like we love the title to the forthcoming Star Trek movie, but a title is not a sentence, and since the controversy involves a piece of art, a form of expression and not a form of accuracy, it seems like Star Trek Into Darkness can do whatever it wants in its title.
Further, the original 1960’s Star Trek has been causing old school grammar extremists to bang their heads against the wall for decades now. Why? Well, the end of the famous opening narration, “To boldly go where no man has gone before,” contains a split infinitive; meaning the word “boldly” rudely drops in between the infinitive “to go.” While a lot of grammarians may have opposed this, the impact of Star Trek’s motto clearly outweighed any outcry.
We prefer to capitalize the “into” when using the title, as there’s an additional visual element to consider aside from grammar. It’s clearly the intent of the filmmakers that the title be read as a statement, that you should expect a “trek into darkness,” so capitalizing the “into” keeps that statement from being interrupted.
However you feel about the matter, it’s worth perusing the Wikipedia discussion over it, if only to admire the sheer obsolescence of it. What’s being discussed matters so very little, and yet we all have such strong, clear opinions about it.
As Spock said in Star Trek Into Darkness, “Fascinating.”
Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com.
Chris Lough is the production manager for Tor.com and is not a copy editor, even though he plays one on TV.